Last year, Reproaction launched a campaign to ask retailer Harris Teeter to put emergency contraceptives such as Plan B One Step directly on the shelf for purchase. Unlike other retailers, Harris Teeter has a policy that requires customers to pick up a card from the shelf and bring it to the pharmacist or store manager to purchase emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is a time sensitive medication that needs to be readily available. It’s been almost five years since the Food and Drug Administration updated regulations to allow retailers to put Plan B One Step on the shelf. Harris Teeter has had more than enough time to update their policy.
We kicked off our campaign with a demonstration in front of a Harris Teeter store, and last month, we took action on Twitter. Yet when shoppers started to speak out against Harris Teeter’s emergency contraception policy, Harris Teeter blocked its own customers on social media.
Although many Harris Teeter customers found themselves blocked, we weren’t going to back down. Instead, we held a social media comment storm action. Harris Teeter shoppers signed up and took action by commenting across social media to tell Harris Teeter to stop hiding Plan B One Step with the hashtag #DontHidePlanB.
We held our first comment storm on Tuesday, January 9th, and it produced over a hundred of comments that flooded Harris Teeter with a simple request: put Plan B One Step on the shelf so it would be readily available and accessible to all shoppers. Despite the overwhelming response from shoppers, Harris Teeter fought back by blocking even more of its customers on Facebook and Instagram. The retailer even deleted all related content off social media.
In response, we took to social media again for another comment storm on January 18th. Shoppers left upwards of a hundred comments across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to oppose Harris Teeter’s Plan B policy. True to form, Harris Teeter responded to those concerns by blocking even more of their shoppers on social media and deleting content.
Harris Teeter’s efforts to silence its customers isn’t going to stop Reproaction from continuing to take bold direct action. This spring will mark 5 years since the FDA set new regulations to allow retailers to sell Plan B One Step on the shelf, and it’s past time Harris Teeter modernize their policy. Harris Teeter may be able to block their shoppers feedback online but they cannot stop us from protesting their emergency contraception policy outside any of their 245 store locations.