Were you aware that it required a Supreme Court ruling to legalize birth control?

Did you know contraceptives were illegal in some states prior to Griswold in 1965?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) came up today during the Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Barrett.

I was completely dumbfounded to learn birth control was illegal in some states. I’m very familiar with Roe v Wade. I had never heard of Griswold before today.

Notice that the date is over 80 years before the pill. They must have been considering instruments like condoms and maybe your hand? (If you pulled out and manually finished). :astonished: That also must have included the person who sold the condom.

It’s incredible just how backwards and narrow minded some state legislatures were.

Did you know contraceptives were illegal in some states prior to Griswold in 1965?

Roe v. Wade

edit time out won’t let me fix my homophone and my double entry (pasted the sentence twice).

Condoms were sold for the prevention of venereal disease in that era–so got around the birth control prohibition that way.

So VD had one useful outcome. You could buy and use a condom. :thinking:

I understand the introduction of the pill in 1960 made these laws more burdensome.

Everyone takes birth control for granted. It’s surprising that only a generation ago it required a Supreme Court ruling to get full access to birth control throughout the US.

I even raemember the ruling.

Pessaries. There are pessaries that have nothing to do with birth control, but that’s what diaphragms were called back in the bad old days when they were illegal. See United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries,1936.

Thank you for the information Yllaria. Learned something else new today.
I’ll read the wiki entry.

I voted “yes” because I was aware that birth control was illegal in the past and that Margaret Sanger’s activism was an important part of the story of making birth control legal and acceptable. I can’t say I was completely aware that the Supreme Court was involved, though. I’m sure I’d read that at some point, but had kind of forgotten it.

Anyway, the sad reality is that everything is nuanced - things are rarely black and white. Sanger is kind of a hero, but her motives were less than pure, since she was apparently espoused eugenics and though Blacks were inferior.

Didn’t vote, because while I was aware that birth control had been illegal in many states, I either hadn’t known or had forgotten that the change was due to a Supreme Court decision.

Yes, I remember when the SCOTUS made that ruling.

And Griswold only legalized contraception for married couples. It wasn’t until 1972 that it was extended to unmarried people in Eisenstadt v. Baird.

Yes. Massachusetts birth control advocate William Baird repeatedly tested the law that made it illegal to give an unmarried woman a contraceptive in public. I read about the matter as a young kid in a mid-1960s article in Playboy magazine, which helped Baird with his legal fees.

I’m pretty sure it was Griswold, not Roe, that established the right to privacy and cleared the path for Roe, right? Maybe a lawyer can tell me how wrong I am. Anyway, yes, I was aware of Griswold.

Can you imagine an America where people can’t get birth control and whites and blacks can’t get married? Yes, of course! Although they were before my time, my parents certainly remember those days.

Yes, Griswold announced the that theory, that there are certain unenumerated rights, such as the right to privacy within the penumbra of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments.

So, all that hatred of “penumbras” which seems to be directed at Roe is really directed at Griswold. Interesting.

I asked my mother about contraceptives. My parents were stationed at Otis Air Force base from 1959-66. She was a civilian RN then. She told me that contraceptives were illegal in Massachusetts, but the military doctors could prescribe the pill to military personnel and dependants. She did use contraceptives after my birth.

I’m glad military bases are Federal property. Otherwise I might have siblings. :blush:

Well, sorta. It took a SCOTUS ruling to force all the states to allow Birth control. Some states already did.

Yes. In fact, Roe is not based on the penumbra theory. Justice Harlan wrote a concurrence in Griswold that located the right to privacy in the 14th Amendment, not based on the penumbra of other amendments. All of the major privacy cases after Griswold, including Eisenstadt and Lawrence v. Texas have been rooted in Harlan’s concurrence, not the penumbra theory.

Regardless of the exact theory of the origin of the right to privacy, if Roe is overturned by rejecting the right to privacy, a number of modern precedents would be in jeopardy. Contraception, healthcare and end of life decisions, LGBT rights cases, as well as other cases based on unenumerated rights, like parents’ rights to raise their children without undue interference by the government.

Fixed both.

To answer the original question, I was married in 1964 and we lived in Connecticut for the first three months. My wife got fitted for a diaphragm and got jelly in NY.

I think you’re missing the point here… it wasn’t considered a Federal issue until that case. Until then it was basically covered under the 10th Amendment’s statement that if it’s not in the Constitution, it is reserved to the states to decide. The thing is, EVERYTHING starts out that way, and has to be decided in the courts, or legislation has to be created.

So I’m not surprised that until 1965 each state did their own thing with respect to contraceptives. I’m sure the whole idea was that contraceptives were basically used for immoral purposes, so banning them might put a dent in that sort of activity.

What does surprise me is that it was Connecticut that was the state being sued in this case; I always had the impression that the Northeastern states were the hotbeds of liberalism, and that it would be somewhere benighted like Mississippi that would be the target of a suit in 1965 about contraception.