The Media Maven: Birth Control in Vending Machines?

By Rachael Smith, Alumna of Radford University

Back when I was in high school, it was a big deal when the school administration took out all of the Vault sodas from our vending machines and replaced them with “healthier options.” That was the talk of the town.

Now, a bigger controversy has placed itself upon slot E6 … birth control.

Although I think it's a weird place to put birth control in the first place, I guess since there is a vending machine is just about every dorm and hall at college, kids can now obviously and openly get their pills without being sneaky in CVS.

This all began at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania where Plan B was placed in a vending machine inside the Student Health Center. Along with this, condoms and pregnancy tests can be found in the machine that once held our favorite delicious goodies.

Only students of the university can purchase the pill and must have a school ID card. The pill costs only $25, which is actually a lot cheaper than what it might be elsewhere (usually costs around $50).

Mixed in with the confusion of this controversy, some have wondered if the school was providing the abortion pill, otherwise known as RU-486. According to Yahoo News, University President Bill Ruud has denied this, saying that taxpayers' and state-supported dollars are not being used to provide the pills.

Many wonder if this supports pre-marital sex or if it will help decrease the number of pregnant college students who may, in turn, drop out.

"At this school, you can get the morning-after pill the same way you would a can of soda," said Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity to CNN. "It defies common sense."

It is argued that Plan B is completely safe and is as harmless as a pill you may take for a headache. No danger involved.

The folks at Shippensburg sure do believe in the machine and hope that they start spreading to colleges all over.

“This idea has set a standard that others should strive to meet in order to provide the best possible care for students and to create an environment where there is an active concern for reproductive health,” wrote Matty Carville for

The trend has caught on, and a vending machine has been set up at Towson University, where a fair share approved of it but a few disagreed.

What do you think? Would you care if one of these machines made its way onto your campus? Let me know in the comments!

Image courtesy of BrandonSigma /

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