Loading

Abortion: A private matter between a woman and her … vending machine?

Mary Hasson

Photo by Vera Kratochvil
At Shippensburg University, female students who hook-up for drunken sex on Saturday will find it easy to dispose of just-conceived babies on Monday or Tuesday. A quick trip to the vending machine is all it takes.

Easy. Kind of like buying a bag of Doritos.

Women who wake up in unfamiliar beds or sober up and wonder, “What were you thinking, girl?” needn’t worry much. Stride across campus, past the dining hall (grab a doughnut for later), and into the University Health Center. Flash a student ID and head to the vending machine in the “self-help” area. There, next to the cough drops and Mucinex, in discreet, feminine packaging, is Plan B One Step. No questions asked. Feed the bills into the slot, grab and go. Empowered with “choices,” these women pop the package blister, swallow the pill and breathe easy.

Problem solved. Glad that’s over.

Only it’s really not.

Billed as “emergency contraception,” according to the package insert, Plan B inhibits ovulation and thus prevents conception. But it also alters the lining of the uterus, preventing a newly conceived child from implanting in its mother’s womb. Without implantation, that tiny human being cannot draw nourishment and will die. (Occasionally, Plan B fails and the pregnancy continues.)

In most cases, however, Plan B ‘succeeds.’

But ‘success’ is not pretty. Our Shippensburg student will have a one-in-three chance of heavy bleeding. And 13% of women who take Plan B One Step end up curled up in bed with nausea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Worse, nearly one in ten women who use emergency contraception (compared to 2% of pregnancies in the general population) develop severe abdominal pain and require emergency treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.

But no worries, this is a private decision between a woman and her vending machine.

(Maybe the Supreme Court should update that hallowed language about abortion being a private medical decision between a woman and her doctor, eh?)

Back in Shippensburg, it’s been a bad few days for the University’s PR team--one negative link on Drudge would keep anybody hopping—and they’re feeling a bit defensive. “We’re not the first” to make Plan B available on a college campus, they say.

But from a vending machine?

Has our culture so trivialized sex and baby-making that the ‘solution’ to an unintended pregnancy comes out of a vending machine? And the grown-ups in the room don’t even blink?

Shippensburg’s decision seems destined to create a campus norm of casual sex. But in its February 7th statement, the University asserted that it’s “not encouraging anyone to be sexually active. That is a decision each student makes on his or her own.”

But why offer students abortion-inducing drugs, right on campus? (Ironically, the University vending machines don’t currently carry condoms, the typical must-have accessory for promiscuous sex).

In a phone interview February 7, Dr. Peter M. Gigliotti, Executive Director for University Communications & Marketing, said the university installed the vending machine “several years” ago after a student survey showed that 85% of students favored on-campus access to emergency contraception. He defended the decision, expressed surprise at the media coverage, and insisted that no one under the age of 17 has access to the vending machine. (By law, Plan B cannot be dispensed to anyone under 17 without a prescription.)

In Shippensburg’s public statement, Dr. Robert Serr, Vice-President for Student Affairs, also downplayed the disclosure and framed the issue as support for reproductive choice: “Reproductive services are a personal decision to be made by every man and woman. As such, the university is providing students with a medication that they can obtain legally elsewhere as part of their ability to make their own choices.”

Put differently, Shippensburg wonders, “What’s the big deal?”

That attitude is precisely the problem.

“Emergency contraception” dispensed from a vending machine is the perfect icon of our culture’s impersonal--and utilitarian--view of sex and reproduction.

The icon’s meaning:

  • Sex is no big deal. It’s entertainment. Condom malfunction? Fix the problem in less time than it takes to rent a Redbox movie.
  • Making --or destroying-- a baby is no big deal either. Using ‘emergency contraception’ has the moral significance of taking a cough drop. (One button on the vending machine gets you Plan B, another gets you lemon-flavored cough drops.)
  • Convenience rules. Why bother with nine months of pregnancy—and 21 years of child-rearing--when freedom is just a vending machine away?
  • Like casual sex, abortion (even disguised as “emergency contraception”) turns a union of two into a solo event. No strings. Just another individual experience that requires “appropriate decisions.”
  • Repeat business is a given—the abortion industry depends on it. No one visits a vending machine just once.

To the women of Shippensburg University: wake up! What could be more lonely than heading across a cold Pennsylvania campus “the morning after,” alone, to rendezvous with a vending machine? It’s an automated ‘problem-solver,’ stoically dispensing drugs that not only kill your baby but also numb your heart. All so you can go back and do it again.

That’s not ‘choice.’ It’s exploitation. And people who really care about you won’t exploit you.

Please, reach out.

Because you deserve better.

Topics: Abortion , Contraception , Culture , Current Events , Young Women

Mary Rice Hasson, the mother of seven, is a Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C. She blogs at wordsfromcana.

View all articles by Mary Hasson

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

RECENT POSTS

OUR TOPICS

Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 

Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: