Students at Shippensburg University in central Pennsylvania can now buy the "morning-after pill" as easily as candy bars and soda.
The vending machine, which dispenses the Plan B One-Step emergency contraception- popularly referred to as the morning-after pill- also dispenses pregnancy tests and condoms.
The pill is designed to prevent pregnancy if used within 72 hours of unprotected sex, and contains a high level dose of progestin levonorgestrel, a hormone found in birth control pills. The hormone works by causing extra mucous to be released along the uterine wall, which prevents fertilization.
For Christian organizations like American Life League, whether the mucous prevents sperm from fertilizing eggs, or whether the method takes a life is the central debate.
ALL argues that the pill causes "the tiny baby boy or girl to die before he or she can actually attach to the lining of the uterus."
Plan B One-Step is legal for anyone over the age of 17 to buy, and the school maintains that everyone in attendance at the 8,300 student public university is old enough to purchase the pill.
"The machine is in a private room in our health center, and the health center is only accessible by students," University spokesman Peter Gigliotti said.
"In addition, no one can walk in off the street and go into the health center. Students proceed to a check-in desk located in the lobby and after checking in are granted access to the treatment area," he added.
Roger Serr, Shippensburg University's Vice President for Student Affairs, said the machine was installed in the University health center at the request of the student government, after a student survey revealed 85 percent of students were in favor of it.
The pill, which is sold from the machine at the wholesale price of $25, is much cheaper than the cost of buying it at a pharmacy, which may impact the number of students using it.