Birth Control Vending Machine Sparks Controversy

Vending machines are cool, right? They’re really convenient when you just need a snack or drink. Especially when you’re like suddenly craving Bugles and know the ones in that vending machine have probably been there since 2004, but they’re right in front of you so you get them anyway. No? Just me? Okay.

Imagine that same convenience in emergency contraception. Sound crazy? It’s not. Shippensburg University has a birth control vending machine at their health center. It dispenses condoms, pregnancy tests, decongestants and Plan B. Oh and Plan B is available for $25 instead of the $50 you’d spend at a pharmacy. The vending machine can be used by students and university employees, which is totally awesome.

But naturally, some people freaked out and called for the FDA to impose regulatory action. Turns out though, that the FDA said no because they don’t think action is necessary. Because it’s a good idea. And because all of the students are of legal age to purchase Plan B so it just makes it more convenient and less embarrassing than going to the drug store and having a pharmacist give you that judgmental look.

I’ve taken Plan B before, and pharmacists either give you a “Bless your heart” look or a “Oh you little tramp” look. It’s never good. It’s never a “I’m glad you’re being responsible after your other forms of contraceptive failed you.”

It’s my understanding that the concern is the vending machine makes emergency contraceptives too accessible, but what does that even mean? There’s not really regulation on Plan B in drug stores either. You could buy a Plan B every day if you wanted to. (Don’t do that though, it’s emergency contraception for a reason!)

Is it the fact that it’s in a vending machine that’s upsetting people? Are they upset about the condoms and pregnancy tests too? What about the cold medication?

This is literally shoving birth control reminders in students’ faces. If you’re at the health center being treated and you see a vending machine like that, it’s going to remind you to be safe. So props to the FDA for recognizing the positives here.

What do you think about this vending machine? Do you think it’s a good or bad idea? Do you think students will abuse the privilege? Tell me in the comments!

 

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  • Courtney

    I attend Shippensburg University and I can tell you it’s harder to get than you think. Girls can’t just walk it and get it. It is a really cool idea though.

    • Caitlin Corsetti

      Courtney, thanks for commenting! It’s definitely an interesting idea. What do you mean girls can’t just walk in and get it? Can you explain some of the logistics and difficulties?

  • bakerychaz

    That vending machine sounds really convenient and super awesome!