April 25, 1938 |
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Phil Harvey is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and libertarian who over the past 43 years has set up large-scale programs that deliver subsidized contraceptives in poor countries. Harvey is the founder and former president of DKT International, the Washington, D.C.-based charity that implements family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programs in 19 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is the chief sponsor of the Liberty Project which raises awareness about freedom of speech issues in the U.S. Harvey is also the president of Adam & Eve, the North Carolina–based company that sells sex toys, adult films and condoms. Consequently he has been called "one of the most influential figures in the American sex industry today".
Over these years, Harvey has used profits from Adam & Eve to supplement support from international donors to protect millions of poor couples from unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections. In 2012, DKT International provided 25 million couple years of protection (CYPs).
Harvey was born in Evanston, Illinois to William Dow Harvey and Lucy Smith Harvey as the youngest of five siblings on April 25, 1938. He attended Harvard College from 1957 and received his bachelor’s degree in 1961 in Slavic languages and literature. Between 1960 and 1962, he did his military service based in Ft. Meade, Maryland, before joining the international charity CARE in 1963 to work in India. His five years’ work with CARE on large-scale feeding programs for rapidly growing numbers of Indian children convinced Harvey of the importance of family planning and planted the first seeds in his mind of starting an initiative that could address the issue on a global scale.
Harvey returned to the U.S. in 1969 and enrolled in the University of North Carolina’s masters degree program in family planning administration. One of his classmates was Tim Black, a British physician (who went on to found Marie Stopes International, a large British charity also focused on family planning services). Harvey and Black founded Population Services International in 1970 which today works in almost 70 countries with an annual budget of $683 million (2011). Harvey served as executive director of PSI from 1970 to 1977 and remained on the PSI Board until 2003.
He co-founded Adam & Eve in 1972 and continues to remain its president. He founded DKT International in 1989 and has been its president / chief executive since.
Business and non-profit enterprises
Harvey’s operational philosophy is unique: it combines altruism with strong business models. Adam & Eve is one of the largest sex product companies in the world. Harvey’s share of profits from it support DKT International which sells low-priced contraceptives by using business channels that are found in every corner of the world, including in low-resource settings. Special projects, such as those with the military in Ethiopia (which obliges all soldiers to carry condoms when they leave the base) or with local medical practitioners in India who make a small profit selling condoms, extend and supplement this approach and ensure the products are widely available.
Harvey realized the potential of mail order when, at the University of North Carolina, he joined forces with Tim Black to begin selling condoms through the mail. Their efforts to expand the range of products led to the evolution of the sex products business: in Harvey's own words, "(w)e tried to get our customers to buy leisure wear, shipbuilding kits, belt buckles, model airplanes, but they just yawned at that stuff. Every time we put something with erotic appeal in the catalog, the bells would ring."
Profit from their mail-order business provided the funds to launch Population Services International in 1970.
Between 1977 and 2007, Harvey was involved in several legal battles with the U.S. and New York state governments in which he both challenged and defended himself against governments he believed were debasing First Amendment rights. As executive director of PSI in 1977, Harvey took on New York Governor Hugh Carey in a landmark reproductive health case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Carey vs. Population Services International, the Court found unconstitutional, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the New York Education Law that made it a crime (1) for any person to sell or distribute any contraceptives to persons under 16; (2) for anyone other than a licensed pharmacist to distribute contraceptives to anyone; and (3) for anyone, including licensed pharmacists, to advertise or display contraceptives. The 1977 ruling, in combination with subsequent rulings, confirmed that the protection of rights and privacy are not limited to married adults. A syllabus of the 1977 ruling noted that New York State had "conceded that there is no evidence that teenage extramarital sexual activity increases in proportion to the availability of contraceptives."
In 1986, Adam and Eve’s offices in Carrboro, North Carolina were raided by 37 armed local law enforcement agents. For the next six years, Harvey defended himself against multiple indictments for obscenity brought by the Reagan Administration’s Department of Justice under Attorney General Edwin Meese. Ultimately, he prevailed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992 after initiating proactive litigation against the U.S. government. Harvey documented this story in his 2001 book “The Government vs. Erotica: The Siege of Adam & Eve.” Wrote Nadine Strossen, then-president of the American Civil Liberties Union, in the foreword of “The Government vs. Erotica”: “Phil Harvey not only survived the government’s relentless efforts to bully him out of business, as it had done to other businesspeople who also sold constitutionally protected materials to adults who sought those materials. Even more inspiringly, Phil Harvey and his impressive legal team secured new legal precedents and prosecutorial policies that will protect other individuals and businesses from similar government harassment and oppression.”
In 1987, while embroiled in the prosecutions of the Regan Administration, Harvey challenged the U.S. government for its “Mexico City Policy” (also known as “the Global Gag Rule”), an on-again, off-again policy first enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 which requires all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services as a method of family planning in other countries. In DKT Memorial Fund Ltd. vs. USAID, Harvey and two foreign NGOs fought to have the Mexico City Policy overturned. Ultimately, this court, in combination with another ruling in a different circuit, ruled that the policy could only be used against foreign NGOs and not be invoked against U.S. NGOs. This has been the policy ever since (it was removed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, re-imposed by George W. Bush in 2001 and removed again by Barack Obama in 2009).
In 2006, DKT International refused to accept the U.S. government's policy that all NGOs receiving federal funds to fight AIDS or sex trafficking adopt an organization-wide policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. Harvey believed that the pledge was a form of coerced speech and that it would interfere with HIV prevention efforts. DKT challenged the pledge as a violation of First Amendment rights, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled in favor of DKT in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2006, but the District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed the decision the following year. The issue, through a separate case, was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, 2013 and that Court, in a 6-2 decision, held that the requirement was an unconstitutional infringement of organizations’ free speech rights. The policy is therefore null and void.
On December 31, 2013, Harvey stepped down as president of DKT after 24 years. He continues to serve DKT as chairman of the Board of Directors.
- Show Time (2012) – Harvey's first novel is a psychological thriller that takes on reality shows.
- Government Creep: What Government Is Doing That You Don't Know About (2003) – Strip searches, confiscated homes, stolen children, denial of due process. Sounds like life in a Third World country, but this is our own federal government invading our personal lives, supposedly for our own good.
- The Government vs. Erotica (2001) – Harvey traces the various prosecutions of his company, Adam & Eve, which started as a mail-order supplier of condoms, then branched into the distribution of adult films and sexual paraphernalia.
- Let Every Child Be Wanted: How Social Marketing is Revolutionizing Contraceptive Use Around the World (1999) – This book provides the only comprehensive examination of contraceptive social marketing, documenting a form of international assistance that has attracted support from governments, foundations and other donors.
- 2006 AASECT – Humanitarian Award
- 2007 AVN Awards – Hall of Fame – Founders Branch
- 2009 XBIZ – Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2010 XRCO – 1st Amendment Special Award
- Eric Schlosser (2004). Reefer madness: sex, drugs, and cheap labor in the American black market. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-44670-2.
- "DKT International Family Planning and HIV Prevention". Dktinternational.org. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- Nerve.com / By Steve Almond (2002-07-21). "Sex Aid: Porn to Save the Third World". Alternet. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Show Time: Phil Harvey: 9781935448112: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Government Creep: What the Government is Doing That You Don't Know About: Philip D. Harvey: 9781559502344: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "The Government Vs. Erotica: The Siege of Adam & Eve: Philip D. Harvey: 9781573928816: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Let Every Child Be Wanted: How Social Marketing Is Revolutionizing Contraceptive Use Around the World: Philip D. Harvey: 9780865692824: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Phil Harvey Receives Aasect Humanitarian Award". Adameve.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- [dead link]
- AVN Awards Hall of Fame - official listing - archived April 15, 2009
- "Winners". XBIZ Awards. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- Official Website of Philip D. Harvey
- Feature on Phil Harvey on blog of Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communications
- Feature on Phil Harvey at The Economist
- Feature on Phil Harvey at Mother Jones
- Feature on Phil Harvey at AlterNet
- Phil Harvey at AuthorViews
- Feature on Phil Harvey at Reason.com
- Adam & Eve Sex Toy Store
- Sex Shop Orgio
- DKT International