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DEBATE: Should University Be Selling the Morning-After Pill in a Vending Machine?

A small town university is attracting national attention after installing a vending machine that provides the morning-after pill. Students at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania can walk into the health center and buy the Plan B pill for $25 from the machine. Today on America’s Newsroom Dr. Cathleen London and the CEO of Concerned Women for America, Penny Nance, debated this hot topic.

Dr. London thinks that this is in fact a good idea, “It’s not like this is a vending machine next to a soda machine in the dining room.” She reported that in the U.S., 49 percent of pregnancies are unplanned

and Plan B is available without a prescription for females 17 years or older. She says it’s important to remember that on college campuses every 21 hours a girl is raped and only 10 percent are reported.

Martha MacCallum asked why girls who had been raped would hesitate to go to a nurse or a doctor who could readily provide the pill. Dr. London said the machine allows a private way for girls to get the morning-after pill without added embarrassment.


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MacCallum said people are criticizing this move because it makes it too easy for girls to end a pregnancy. Dr. London responded, “You’re not ending a pregnancy, you’re preventing one. It does not work if you’ve already had a conception. That is a false non-scientific … it prevents fertilization.”

The FDA is now getting involved to take a closer look at the facts behind this vending machine. A statement released by the school said 85 percent of students surveyed supported this idea. MacCallum worries that girls will use this as a form of birth control and said at least going to a pharmacy would require some effort, but Dr. London disagreed saying they’re more likely to receive counseling because they have to sign into the health center before purchasing the pills.

The university is selling around 400 morning-after pills out of this vending machine a year, out of a student population of 3,700 females. CEO of Concerned Women for America, Penny Nance, called this “reckless” and a “direct result of the Obama administration’s FDA.” Nance says we need doctors involved, calling the pill the least effective of anything on the market and said it lures girls into a false sense of security.

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