Published: February 23, 2012
Do you need a morning-after birth-control pill?
Well, look no farther than Shippensburg, Penn., home of Shippensburg University, where the student health center has a vending machine that can take care of all of your post-coital anxieties for the low, low price of 25 bucks a pop.
The machine also offers condoms, pregnancy tests and decongestants, just in case you made love in a drafty motel room.
It’s perfectly legal. According to school records, all of the university’s 8,300 students are over the age of 17.
Under federal law, anyone over 17 can purchase the Plan B One Step emergency contraceptive without a prescription.
While I wholeheartedly agree with greater access to contraception for those who need and want it, I wonder about the wisdom of making available as easily as one could purchase a diet soda.
Shouldn’t a physician examine the potential user first and gain information pertinent to her medical history?
Won’t vending-machine birth control make it easier for rape and incest victims to shy away from the psychological counseling and STD testing they need if they think all they need to do is avoid pregnancy?
Here are some other consumer goods that probably shouldn’t be sold in vending machines:
• Ammo-Matic – the new dispenser-only bullets for the gun-toting criminal too busy to reload after the last robbery; available for handguns, rifles, shotguns and assault weapons;
• Flying High – Now the miniature bottles of liquor available only when you order a cocktail on an airplane are at your fingertips on the ground; unavailable in Tennessee, where you still can’t buy wine in grocery stores;
• Chop Shop Central – If the car part is small enough to fit into a vending machine, you can take care of all your under-the-hood problems at work without having to sort out all those confusing brands and sizes; concrete blocks for your front-yard chassis work not included.
• Doggie Dope – If Fido is feeling down, pep him up instantly with our veterinary vending. You can even make your furry friend part of his own recovery by letting him press the button with his paw.
• Cut-Rate Cutters – Scalpels, forceps, lancets, retractors, clamps – everything you need to resect a bowel, implant your Uncle Warren’s much-needed new kidney or perform that last-minute tummy tuck you desperately want to help you squeeze into a size 6 gown in time for the banquet.
Can you imagine what the competitive bidding would be like for the contracts? Forget Coke vs. Pepsi. These folks would be playing for much bigger stakes.
After all, these products would cost much more than your typical vending-machine goodies, like Cheetos and animal crackers.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks.
You wouldn’t really want Ammo-Matic or Cut-Rate Cutters machines at the airport.
Gina Logue can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.