Someone in the student health department at Shippensburg University must really enjoy outraged emails from Catholics.
Shippensburg will now be offering Plan B in a vending machine on campus. Anyone with a student ID and $25 will have access to the emergency contraceptive without having to go through a pharmacist. Federal law grants availability of the pill to anyone over seventeen; Shippensburg staff checked student records and found that all enrolled students were over seventeen, and therefore they don't need to check ID for the vending machine. The pill will only be available in one vending machine on campus, inside the health center. The vending machine also offers cough drops, condoms, Mucinex, and pregnancy tests. So basically, however rough your night was, just make sure you've stocked up on Gatorade before you hit the health-center vending machine, and you're golden. Hopefully the machine is user-friendly: unlike a normal vending machine, an incorrectly pressed button could be disastrous. "Cough drops? I needed Plan B. Oh, well." It would be almost as disappointing as getting pretzel M&Ms when you wanted peanut.
The Associated Press quotes Shippensburg senior Matthew Kanzler, "It's a way for students to get the help or care they need." Shippensburg is relatively isolated from the nearest urban centers, so easy access to emergency birth control is important; going to a local pharmacy isn't always an option.
Plan B is effective when taken within seventy-two hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. When it's taken correctly, about seven out of eight women who would have gotten pregnant, do not get pregnant, says Teva Women's Health.
The strongly student-supported decision is sure to create controversy outside of the university. Hopefully other universities will take Shippensburg's lead, and offer such easy access to women's health solutions. How long it'll be before this happens, though, remains to be seen.