Pennsylvania Campus Sells Plan B from Machine

Ksenia Rabinovich, El Vaquero Staff Writer

College students buy candies, snacks and beverages from vending machines, but recently emergency contraception Plan B has been added to the list of options.

Emergency contraception is now available in a vending machine at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. The machine also sells condoms and pregnancy tests.

Activists won the battle over emergency contraception in 2006 when the US Food and Drug Administration approved the sale over the counter to customers 18 and older. Since 2011, emergency contraception have been made available for 17 -year olds too.

Shippensburg University conducted a survey on emergency contraception among their students and 85 percent of the participants supported permanent access on campus.

Women who consider buying emergency contraception from vending machines will not have access to medical professionals who can explain the health risks and possible side effects.

There are five different types of emergency contraception available, but only two of them have been approved by the FDA. One contains ulipristal acetate, an agent that acts on the progesterone receptor, while the other contains Levonorgestrel (synthetic progestogen).

Although Plan B and other emergency contraception cannot be considered an abortion pill because it is not intended to terminate an existing pregnancy; It stops or delays ovulation or prevents fertilization, and is not completely safe.

Plan B One Step’s potential side effects include: nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, menstrual changes, vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Emergency contraception has to be a prescribed drug,“ said Emelyn Judge, an associate dean of health sciences at GCC.

New studies by Christine Durrance, Sourafel Girma and David Paton showed that free access to emergency contraception also stimulates the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

In 1999, the FDA approved the first emergency contraception for use. No studies have been conducted on the long-term effects of emergency contraception on existing pregnancy, nor have any studies examined the effect of multiple use of emergency contraception. It is considered to be an emergency pill, Plan B is not intended as a routine drug.

Emergency contraception should not be over-used. “You run the risk of changing the natural processes in a body,” said Tony Reyes, the director of the Health Center at GCC.

The health center does not sell emergency contraception, but it provides a pregnancy test for $5 to students and the center workers are able to refer students to doctors.

GCC Health Center can be found on the ground floor of San Rafael building, behind “The Café” kiosk.

Additional services available at the Health Center are both mental health and nutritional counseling. Free and available to all students. Drop by to schedule an appointment. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.