- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Students at a central Pennsylvania university can now obtain the “morning-after” contraceptive pill from an unusual source — a vending machine at the campus health center.

Students at Shippensburg University can obtain the pill by sliding $25 into a vending machine installed at the request of the student government.

The Etter Health Center at Shippensburg, a public school of 8,300 students in Appalachia’s scenic Cumberland Valley, provides the Plan B One Step emergency contraceptive along with condoms, decongestants and pregnancy tests.

The pill is available without a prescription to anyone 17 or older, and the school checked records and found that all current students are that age or older, spokesman Peter Gigliotti said.

The machine was installed after a request from the student association. The idea started when Shippensburg conducted a survey about health center services several years ago, and 85 percent of the respondents supported making Plan B available, he said.

“The machine is in a private room in our health center, and the health center is only accessible by students,” Mr. Gigliotti said in a statement. “In addition, no one can walk in off the street and go into the health center.”

Taking Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected sex, rape or condom failure can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. It works best if taken within 24 hours.

Some religious conservatives consider the emergency contraceptive tantamount to an abortion drug.



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