Nanny State

University Sells Plan B in Vending Machine


At Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, students can now buy the morning-after pill from a vending machine

"We had some conversations with them and did a survey of the student body and we got an 85 percent response rate that the students supported Plan B in the House Center," said Dr. Roger Serr, Vice president of Student Affairs at Shippensburg.

The university does not profit from the sales. It pays $25 for one dose and that's exactly what the student has to pay.Dr. Serr says that somewhere between 350 and 400 doses are sold each year to the female population. The pill can be legally sold over-the-counter to anyone 17 or older.

We're a little bit obsessed with vending machines here at Reason. I reviewed the Senate's hotdog vending machine, and hollered about the provision in the House health care bill requiring nutrition labeling on vending machines. I've celebrated veterans who get their beer from vending machines. I've also written about machines that vend gold in Abu Dhabipizza in Rome, and meat in Spain.

Plus, we reviewed a book chronicling the empowering effect of being able to buy stuff without the complicity another human being:

For nearly a century before the Internet put the anonymous consumption of vices literally at the world's fingertips, vending machines dispensed taboo wares, experiences, and entertainment free from the gaze of prying eyes….

Be it the condom machine in the gas station bathroom, the coin-operated peep show, the pinball craze that prompted a moral panic in the 1940s, truant hoods spending afternoons in smoke-blanketed video game arcades in the 1980s, or the rebellious rock 'n' roll dispensing jukebox, there has always been a subversive element to coin-operated commerce. 

The Plan B machine continues this theme (whether or not you consider the use of the pill a vice) letting consumers make their own moral choices, on their own schedule, with the company they choose to keep.