University students in Pennsylvania can now get the morning-after pill out of a vending machine on campus.
The Etter Health Center at Shippensburg University has added the Plan B One Step emergency contraceptive along with condoms, decongestants, and pregnancy tests, reports ABC News.
The pill – which costs $25 in the machine – was added after a campus survey found that 85 per cent of students approved making the drug available. The Plan B pill reduces the chances of getting pregnant by 89 per cent if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.
The pill has been controversial in the United States, where some religious conservatives have called it the equivalent of an abortion pill. But as school officials were quick to explain, the machine is in a private room in the centre accessible only to students – so not quite as easy as plugging in quarters for a can of pop.
Since the pill is available in the United States over the counter without a prescription to anyone 17 years and older, a check was conducted to make sure no students at the school were under that age. (In Canada, the Plan B pill is available over the counter at the drug store in most provinces – it is kept behind the counter in Saskatchewan and Quebec.)
"No one can walk in off the street and go in to the health centre," school spokesperson Peter Gigliotti said in a statement. Students have to check in at the lobby before being admitted into the treatment area. The $25 cost is set by the school's pharmacy, and not subsidized. Last year, according to a school official, 350 to 400 doses were sold to the schoo's nearly 4,000 female students.
Do you think emergency contraceptive should be available in vending machines, right next to the condoms?