Vending machine at Pennsylvania college dispenses 'morning after' pill

Students at a public Pennsylvania university can buy the "morning after" pill from a campus vending machine, though the school's minister is working to get the dispenser off of school grounds.

The vending machine at Shippensburg University's Etter Health Center that provides Plan B emergency contraceptive pills for $25 was installed after a survey found that 85 percent of student respondents supported it, according to Peter Gigliotti, the university's executive director for communications and marketing. The machine also dispenses condoms and pregnancy tests.

"We value student input on matters that directly pertain to their health and safety so these results were an important part of the decision-making process," Gigliotti said in a statement emailed to "We are not the first one to make this available so this is not unique to us or to public higher education. This decision was also made in consultation with our medical staff."

Plan B is available without a prescription to anyone 17 or older. Gigliotti said that all current students at Shippensburg -- a public school of roughly 8,300 students in central Pennsylvania -- fit that criteria.

"Any student who wants to discuss Plan B may do so at any time," Gigliotti's email continued. "In addition, medical information is provided with the Plan B for purchasers to read before its use."

The machine -- the only one on the school's campus -- is in a private room within the health center and is accessible only by students, Gigliotti said.

Father David Hillier, pastor of Our Lady of the Visitation Roman Catholic Church and Shippensburg's campus minister, told he "actively" opposes the availability of the contraceptive on campus.

"We have and will continue to work to see the decision of this state university reconsidered and overturned," Hillier wrote in an email.

The drug, which is isn't covered or subsidized by the school, is sold at the school's cost to the pharmaceutical company. The $25 price is less than the pill sells for at off-campus pharmacies, the Associated Press reports.

Allyson Oppman, a junior at Shippensburg studying criminal justice and a member of its Newman Association, said she thought the vending machine is a good idea.

"Sometimes, in certain situations, it's really needed," she told "And most people do not want to go to a pharmacy. It's more embarrassing to go to complete strangers."

Keisha Burns, a senior majoring in art at the university, said she thought it was acceptable for the pill to be offered on campus, but questioned the method of distribution.

"It's ridiculous that it's in a vending machine because it doesn't send the right message," Burns told "You can get a soda and potato chips in a vending machine, so it lightens the situation."

Burns said she would rather students be given the pill by a physician on campus.

"The way it's being presented to me is the issue," she said.

In a statement to, Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said it would be a "much more productive" use of funds if universities partnered with local pregnancy resource centers where students can get help.

Calls seeking comment by the university's Student Senate were not immediately returned.