Not your average vending machine
Outliers thought it had seen just about everything, but a state school in Pennsylvania definitely caught us off-guard. Seems Shippensburg (Pa.) University, a medium-sized institution in the south-central part of the state, has something unique: a vending machine that stocks the “morning after” pill.
It allows students to drop $25 into the machine to buy the Plan B One-step emergency contraceptive. The machine also offers condoms, pregnancy tests and decongestants. It could be the only such vending machine in the country.
While it’s been there for about two years, the vending machine hadn’t attracted much notice until lately. But now that the word is out, the school faces scrutiny in the wake of furor over the new federal mandate that would require all health plans, including many of those offered by Catholic organizations, to provide their employees with contraception. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already contacted Shippensburg and officials in Pennsylvania to investigate. While the pill is over-thecounter, it’s available only behind pharmacy counters, and officials aren’t sure if the vending machine breaks any laws.
School officials say they’re compliant with federal law, as all of their students are over 17, making it legal for them to buy the pill. The machine isn’t in a dorm, but inside the school’s health center, and Shippensburg officials say everyone at the center must sign in, which prevents nonstudents from unauthorized access.
Officials at Shippensburg say only those who are over 17 have access to the Plan B vending machine.