On Monday, November 20, 2017, Reproaction took action against the grocery and pharmacy chain Harris Teeter over its outrageous and unnecessary emergency contraception policy. Unlike other retailers, Harris Teeter stores require customers to pick up a card from the shelf to present to the store manager or pharmacist in order to access emergency contraceptives like Plan B One Step. Although FDA regulations allow retailers to sell Plan B One Step on the shelf without required assistance, Harris Teeter has refused to change their policy. Over a dozen activists sprung into action outside of the Ballston Harris Teeter in Arlington, Virginia. Despite the cold weather, activists lined up with signs and chanted, and spread the word about Harris Teeter’s policy to people driving along the busy road, and Harris Teeter customers. Together, we sent a strong and clear message to Harris Teeter: It’s time to put Plan B One Step on the shelf where it belongs.
Easy access to emergency contraceptives, like Plan B One Step, is important. While Plan B One Step is highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancy, it’s only works when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, although the sooner it can be taken, the more effective it will be. Waiting for the pharmacy to open, or asking a store employee for help are unnecessary obstacles for someone just trying to access emergency contraception. Despite this, Harris Teeter insists on continuing its policy that is not only patronizing, but is hurting communities across the Mid-Atlantic.
With 245 stores in 7 states and the District of Columbia, Harris Teeter’s policy has been successful in blocking access to the most marginalized, including young people, the LGBTQ+ community, and immigrants. For these communities, Harris Teeter’s policy may mean not being able to access emergency contraception at all.
Until Harris Teeter removes their policy and puts Plan B One Step on the shelf where it belongs, Reproaction will continue to take action.
Join us online to put the pressure on Harris Teeter with the hashtag #DontHidePlanB.
Check out our Storify of the action below.