"This is a legal medication," university spokesman Peter Gigliotti told Yahoo News. "You can go into any pharmacy and purchase it legally if you are 17 or older."
Gigliotti also was quick to counter a falsely reported element of the story, noting that the pill will only be offered in one vending machine inside the university's health center.
"It's only available to full-time students who must show multiple forms of identification," Gigliotti said. "It's not just available to anyone walking in off the street."
Even though the FDA has in fact approved the pill for over-the-counter use to anyone 17-years-old and up, the decision has nonetheless created a backlash among those who oppose abortion rights. While the Plan B pill is described as emergency contraception, many social conservatives nonetheless view it as a possible abortifacient, due to the drug's ability, in cases where an egg has already become fertilized, of preventing it from attaching to the uterus. National Right to Life President Carol Tobias tells Yahoo News that there are better ways for the university to look out for the health of its students. "It would be a much more productive use of funds if universities would partner with local pregnancy resource centers where students can get real help if they need it," Tobias said.
Earlier reports inaccurately claimed that the university was offering the pill in all of its student vending machines, which only fueled the outcry.
The Plan B One-Step Home pill, also known as the morning after pill, reduces the chance of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 24 hours. The manufacturer's website notes that it can be taken up 72 hours after sexual intercourse but states that "it is not the abortion pill and it isn't a substitute for routine birth control."
Dr. Serr told WTAE that the decision was made after overwhelming student support. "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."
In addition, Serr said the university does not make any additional revenue from the sales, charging students the same $25 they pay for a single dose.
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