Shippensburg University recently made a controversial decision to sell emergency contraception or Plan B from vending machines in their student health center. As a junior at American University, this decision does not seem controversial to me at all but instead a smart step in helping women make healthy decisions about their bodies. Personally, I think that every college campus would benefit from selling Plan B.
Perhaps some of this controversy has risen because people do not understand the purpose of Plan B. Emergency contraception has been equated with the abortion pill, however; they are very different. Forms of emergency contraception are safe and effective forms of birth control used after intercourse. It does not work if the woman is already pregnant. EC prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation, and the fertilization of the egg. Therefore when a woman takes Plan B she is not aborting a fertilized egg, but instead preventing fertilization.
It is important that women understand the use of Plan B so they can take it if they need to. Stigmatization of Plan B as the abortion pill may deter women from using emergency contraception, and they may subsequently become pregnant. Mistakes happen and it should not be difficult or shameful for women to make important decisions about their bodies. By not making Plan B available or distributing correct information about this pill, women may not know that emergency contraception is an option. Instead they might have to make the difficult and emotionally upsetting choice to have an abortion.
Currently three forms of emergency contraception are available over the counter, and can be purchased if you are 17 or older. Shippensburg has decided to make this OTC drug available to students through a vending machine in the campus health center. The pill costs $25.00 and therefore is not subsidized by the school. Its location in the health center allows only students and faculty to access the machine. 85% of the school population, along with the student government, supported that Plan B be available to students.
This allows students to privately and conveniently access Plan B if they need it. Shippensburg attempt to make this drug available allows women to make healthy and important decisions about their bodies.