Plan B Vending Machine: 'Morning After Pill' Still OK on College Campus

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013 04:01 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Pennsylvania's Shippensburg University unveiled a controversial vending machine in their student health center in 2010 that dispensed the "morning after" pill to students at $25 a pop, provoking controversy.

After considering taking regulatory action against the university for making Plan B One Step emergency contraceptive so accessible, the Food and Drug Administration announced they will step back from the "politically motivated uproar," The Hill website reports.

"FDA looked at publicly available information about Shippenburg (University's) vending program and spoke with university and campus health officials and decided not to take any regulatory actions," said Erica Jefferson, deputy director of the FDA office of public affairs, in an email to PublicOpinion.com.

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Officials met with various groups, including alumni, trustees, the University Forum, and Student Senate before deciding to install the vending machine on campus, according to Peter Gigliotti, Shippensburg University's director of communications.

"Both the Student Senate and the University Forum passed resolutions that the medication should continue to be dispensed," Gigliotti told Public Opinion."The (card) reader, adjacent to the check-in desk, is just another way to check that the individual is both a student and over the designated age."

Gigliotti also addressed the fear that taxpayers were footing the bill for Plan B, as the university is public.

"No state-supported or taxpayer-supported dollars are used for this service and students, as part of the support services offered by the university, have the opportunity to discuss Plan B and any important decisions in their lives with medical, pastoral or counseling staff," he said.

In addition to the Plan B pills, the vending machine also dispenses condoms, pregnancy tests and decongestants.

The pill's availability was not widely known until The Associated Press reported on it in February of 2012, sparking a debate from pro-life advocates who oppose it.

Plan B is an over-the-counter pill and is obtainable for teens 17 and older. There are approximately 8,300 undergraduates at the public university, located in Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley, and all are reportedly above 18 years of age, according to ThinkProgress.com.

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