A vending machine carrying Plan B
Supporters of the vending machines scoff at the notion that Plan B access will result in a breakdown of the moral fabric on college campuses.

Colleges have begun using an unconventional (and controversial) strategy to expand access to contraceptives on campus: vending machines. Earlier this month, Stanford University followed in the footsteps of several other prominent California schools when it introduced a new vending machine stocked with the morning-after pill (commonly referred to a Plan B).

Student groups cheered the move, calling it a positive step toward making contraceptives easily accessible for everyone who needs them. However, not everyone was pleased by the news. Among those in opposition are prominent conservative Christians who see the vending machines as a "get out of jail free card" for irresponsible promiscuity.

Plan B contraceptive What is Plan B?

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex occurs. As one might imagine, the pill is quite popular among college students a group known to be both sexually curious and severely lacking in foresight. However, the university-run health clinics which carry Plan B often have limited hours on weekends or are closed entirely. As it happens, that's also when demand for the Plan B is the highest.

And thus was born the idea to make the product more accessible to college kids. Initially, school officials proposed selling it in university book stores. But that idea was shot down because many students reported feeling stress and embarrassment when forced to buy Plan B from someone face-to-face. The solution? Sell it remotely, through a vending machine in a discreet location on campus. That way students have 24/7 access to the pill and avoid potentially being judged by their peers.

Promoting Licentious Behavior?

Despite being hailed as a "revolutionary" idea by its supporters, some groups are skeptical of the Plan B vending machines. Conservative Christians are particularly appalled at the notion of young people buying contraceptives with such ease. In their view, these vending machines will incentivize "immoral" premarital sex by giving students an easy out. Forget to use a condom? No worries, just head down to the basement and buy the morning-after pill!

The famous evangelist Franklin Graham had this to say when UC Davis first introduced the vending machines on their campus back in April:

Why Vending Machines Could Be a Good Thing

Supporters of the vending machines scoff at the notion that their installation will result in a breakdown of the moral fabric on college campuses. If anything, they say, improved access to Plan B will have positive effects. Consider its potential effect on abortion rates, for example. The morning-after pill prevents pregnancy by stopping fertilization before the pregnancy takes hold thus preventing young women from ending up with unwanted pregnancies. Since many of these women would likely seek abortion services in the event of a pregnancy, Plan B may actually help prevent abortions.

If Christian groups are really pro-life, supporters argue, they should embrace these vending machines wholeheartedly.

A Growing Trend

Support for the idea has been growing across the country, and as many as 30 more universities have recently announced plans to install vending machines of their own. If the project continues to prove successful, Plan B could soon be readily available in student recreation centers across the country.

What do you think -- is that a good thing?


  1. Gerry's Avatar Gerry

    Well I suppose it's a matter of personal choice, and matters of personal morality are such that we should not judge others as we all answer for our choices and have free will.

    1. John Maher's Avatar John Maher


  1. Wendy's Avatar Wendy

    What a great idea! Although I wonder if the very public placement of the vending machines will deter students from using them.

    1. Fay Fleming's Avatar Fay Fleming

      I agree with you on this point. Some young people would be to embarrassed to use it and that would defeat the whole point of putting it there in the first place. Blessings from Australia

  1. James's Avatar James

    Free will can be good in most cases. But, finding more ways to pump more drugs in to ppl (collecting $$$) AND doing it to facilitate / permit ppl to have their vises can be a problem in it self. Not the best way to off-set or justify morals, ethical & healthy ways of addressing matters... Next they will be installing safe injection sites on campus.

  1. Linda Weeks's Avatar Linda Weeks

    Since time began, there have been unwanted pregnancies, and unappreciated children. Abstinence hasn't worked yet, Until we remove the stigma attached to sex, and birth control we won't solve the problem.

  1. Tom B's Avatar Tom B

    There is nothing wrong with this...objections seem to be predicated upon the failure of parents, schools and theologians to instill values in children/young adults...

  1. Jeff's Avatar Jeff

    Maybe a true moral compass should be given to our children and birth control will be won.

  1. Bernadette Chick's Avatar Bernadette Chick

    I really have mixed feelings on this, I know in this day and sage it is practically Right, but, Is it morally right. In an ideal world there would be no need for this , I can see the arguments for it , however personally I'm just not comfortable with it

  1. Bill Fox's Avatar Bill Fox

    If you don't care about your body (getting a VD), then this type of contraception is superior to abortion.

  1. Rarity's Avatar Rarity

    In all due respect,we as a society have done a crap shoot job when it comes to instilling morality we have let the agenda take hold and when does an agenda take responsibility for it self it's left to us to lean up the mess.

  1. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

    Wouldn't it be cool if they installed sex booths right next to the Plan B vending machines. That would be a great way for students to relieve stress between classes. Trust me they're coming. And then the conservative Christians are really going to raise hell ! Well, we can't make everyone happy all the time. That shouldn't stop the rest of us ( who don't have such low morals ) from having fun.

  1. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF's Avatar Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF

    Just from one perspective, as the current Puritanical administration is going to every length possible to make women's healthcare more and more difficult to access, and when businesses rights are more sacred than individual's right in that they are given a 'Religious Exemption' from paying for insurances which provide for birth control, I'm just ecstatic to see some of the more educated and responsible institutions at least trying to make reasonable purchase options readily available to those young persons who choose to use it. (Whew!!! That was one looooooonnnnngggg sentence.)

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