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The morning after pill remains one of the more controversial forms of choice out there, but some people are arguing that a vending machine at Shippensburg University has made emergency contraceptives way too easy for young people to get their hands on.

From the Associated Press:

Students at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania can get the “morning-after” pill by sliding $25 into a vending machine, an idea that has drawn the attention of federal regulators and raised questions about how accessible emergency contraception should be.

The student health center at Shippensburg, a secluded public institution of 8,300 students tucked between mountain ridges in the Cumberland Valley, provides the Plan B One Step emergency contraceptive in the vending machine along with condoms, decongestants and pregnancy tests.

The vending machine has been in existence for many years, but no one raised much of a fuss until the recent Susan G. Komen Foundation/Planned Parenthood flap. Now, school officials are defending what they saw as a convenient way to give students access to healthcare. The opponents of the machine aren’t just against Plan B, they are against the quick and easy distribution of medicine without the advice of a real doctor. One of the machine’s opponents called it “personalized medicine taken too far,” and explained that “it’s part of the general trend that drugs are available for consumers without interface with a pharmacist or doctors. This trend has serious pitfalls.”

Plan B has always been a little bit controversial because a lot of folks just think of abortion when they consider how it works, but what better platform for a pregnancy prevention drug that needs to be taken within 72 hours of conception than a vending machine? There is something to be said for the lack of professional medical advice here but sometimes I worry that the medical industry spends more time inserting itself where it doesn’t belong than finding ways to help us live without constant medical intervention, even if that intervention should be made only in cases of emergency.

What do you think?

Read more here.

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