Shippensburg Vending Machines Serve More than Snacks

Vending machines provide a simple fix to any craving, anytime, anywhere. College students have constant access to all of the necessities whether it is gum, skittles, a chocolate bar, water, or soda. The options are endless. These are a few guilty pleasures that some simply cannot live without. But what if it were just as easy to pick up condoms, a pregnancy test, or even “Plan B?” as it is candy? Well, at Shippensburg University, it is.

There is a lot of hype about the “Plan B” vending machines and whether they are appropriate for college campuses to provide. For those who are unfamiliar, “Plan B” is sometimes referred to as “the morning after pill.” It is a pack of two pills that can be taken up to five days after sexual intercourse. It is not an abortion pill because it will not work if someone is already pregnant. It has an 89 percent success rate of stopping pregnancy before it occurs, but the sooner it is taken the more effective it is. At Shippensburg University the product only costs $25, and is located in the self-care clinic.

I personally believe that the vending machines are a very good idea. Although the delivery is a little unconventional, it gets the job done. Supplying students with the resources that will ultimately affect their futures is not only in their best interest but also the best interest of the school. The convenience of it is definitely a benefit. Students are much less likely to go to a drug store to purchase condoms or “Plan B” as they are from a vending machine.  It is especially important because with “Plan B” time is of the essence. The vending machine not only makes the purchase easier, but it also eliminates the confrontation with a cashier or with other customers, making students feel more comfortable. I don’t think that the university is encouraging more sex, just safer sex.

However, even some of the students are having a hard time adjusting to this new addition. Because the “Plan B” vending machines are not being federally funded, some students are frustrated that their money is going to a pill they may not need or believe in. However, prior to installing the machines, a survey was given to the school where an overwhelming 85 percent of the student body supported the action.

Others in opposition of the vending machines might claim that providing birth control methods is the same thing as condoning sexual intercourse. Cassandra Towsley, junior at Shippensburg, told Your4state, “To be able to walk up to a vending machine and just get that, get a pill like that, it’s just ridiculous.” There are many reasons a woman may need to use “Plan B” besides intentionally having unprotected sex. There are various instances of rape or birth control failure that could lead someone into a scary situation.

“Plan B” is available to anyone 17 or older at a pharmacy, and considering most college students are above the age of 18 I do not find it inappropriate. Who knows where we’ll see these vending machines appear next, maybe at Bloomsburg University!

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