Towson University Considers Putting Emergency Birth Control In Vending Machines

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—Birth control through a vending machine. That’s what one local university is looking to do after seeing it at another campus.

Monique Griego has more on the controversial plan.

The vending machine would sell Plan B, also known as the Morning After Pill. But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Cookies, chips and soda are commonly found in vending machines. But how about birth control?

Health leaders at Towson University are looking to make Plan B, also known as the Morning After Pill, available in a vending machine at the student health center.

Their move comes after Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania installed one.

“If we can remove barriers to a very useful method of protection and reduce pregnancies in student population, that is something we’re committed to doing,” said Jane Halpern, Student Health Services.

Plan B can be taken after sex to prevent pregnancy. It does not work if you’re already pregnant.

It’s currently available over-the-counter to anyone over the age of 17.

“It’s like buying condoms. People are embarrassed to buy condoms, so they don’t and you end up needing Plan B,” said Alexandra Lyons, student.

Right now students have to make an appointment to get Plan B.

Halpern believes the machine will increase privacy.

“If I really had to talk to a nurse, yeah I’d do it. But now if it is in the vending machine then it’s a lot easier,” said Christian Fangio, student.

Health leaders want to make it clear the vending machine will not be out here in the open. It will be inside the health center and students would have to check in to use it.

“I don’t think it will be a good idea. I think kids would just keep going to it,” said Nicole Hughes, student.

“I feel like it just needs to be more of a conversation than ‘I’m just going to go get a bag of chips’ type thing,” said Alaina Briceland-Betts, student.

Halpern says she expected some backlash, but remains focused on her mission.

“The goal is to prevent unwanted pregnancy, ” she  said.

The vending machine would sell Plan B for $25 a pill. But once again, the university is just considering the idea. So far nothing has been officially approved.

Because the Plan B vending machines have gotten so much attention, the FDA is now looking at the issue.


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