It was recently announced that Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania has a vending machine in their health facility that provides Plan B contraceptives for students.
Plan B contraceptives, similar to the morning-after pill, are used after intercourse as an emergency measure to prevent pregnancy.
The vending machine has been on the campus for two years and hasn’t drawn significant controversy or media attention until recently. The machine is located in Shippensburg’s Etter Health Center, which is accessible to only students and faculty.
Shippensburg University offers these pills to students for a $25 fee. Additional privacy is the reason they offer the pills in a vending machine, as they’re afraid students will feel too uncomfortable to go to a professional to purchase the pill. Federal law requires that the morning after pill be made available without a prescription to anyone who is 17 years or older.
According to the Associated Press, 85 percent of students at Shippensburg support the university’s decision to make Plan B contraceptives available through a vending machine. The machine was first set up due to demand from students on campus.
With Shippensburg University offering Plan B contraceptives to students, some wonder if a similar plan should be adopted at Ferris.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Shantell Moore, Ferris sophomore in pre-nursing, said. “In a way it would help prevent pregnancy. Birkam Health Center would be a good location for it, but I wouldn’t personally use it myself.”
“If there is someone who needs it, it would be a good thing to have,” Alex Purox, Ferris freshman in pre-pharmacy, said. “It doesn’t really affect me much though; I don’t have any need for its services.”
“I do think this is a good idea,” Rance Mask, Ferris senior in criminal justice, said. “It would certainly have an impact on campus and promote safe sex. I think the dorms would be a good location for the machine instead of going to Rite-Aid. I would use the machine if we had it.”
“I feel it’s a good idea,” Valoree Burns, Ferris sophomore in computer information systems, said. “It would be good for students to have access to emergency contraceptives. I would use the vending machine if I needed to.”
However, while moving the pill from behind the counter into vending machines was meant to add additional privacy, Burns expresses that additional steps may need to be taken to ensure privacy.
“I don’t like the idea of it being in Birkam. If you go up to the machine then everyone is going to know why. I would rather see such a machine in the restrooms; I think a lot of women would be more comfortable that way. You can discreetly get condoms and feminine hygiene products in bathrooms, and the morning-after pill could be available similarly.”
As of now, Ferris State has no plans to install vending machines that disperse Plan B contraceptives anywhere on campus. However, with the news about Shippensburg’s decision, some wonder if this could be the beginning of a new trend across college campuses in the country.