Over 100 years ago, Congress passed a law that made it a federal crime to distribute birth control across state lines. Connecticut — like about 30 other states — had a similar law. That’s right, people were threatened with going to jail for distributing or using contraceptives. It took two Connecticut Planned Parenthood workers to put an end to the madness. They set up a clinic and provided information and medical advice to married couples about preventing pregnancy — they were soon arrested.
It took a few years, but on June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court overturned their arrests and determined that the law was unconstitutional. The Griswold case also established the right to privacy — in this case for married couples. A few years later, unmarried couples and later, minors, would get the same right. It’s been 40 years since the Griswold case, and you’d think access to contraception would be assured. Not so. Think about the threats to emergency contraception and the continued attacks on national and international family planning programs. Everything old is new again.
- Melody Barnes