Reproductive Rights: Griswold v. Connecticut-Contraception and Privacy worksheet
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Contraception and Privacy
Should people be allowed access to drugs or devices designed to stop contraception, and thus be able to engage in sex without having to worry as much about pregnancy?
There have been many laws in the United States which prohibited the manufacture, distribution, transportation, or advertisement of such drugs and device.
Those laws were challenged and the most successful line or argument stated that such laws interfered with a sphere of privacy which belonged to the individual.
Facts of the Case:
Estelle Griswold was the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. Both she and the Medical Director for the League (Dr. Buxton) gave information, instruction, and other medical advice to married couples concerning birth control. Griswold and her colleague were convicted under a Connecticut law which criminalized the provision of counseling, and other medical treatment, to married persons for purposes of preventing conception and fined $100. A state appellate court and the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors affirmed the convictions, whereupon defendants appealed to the U.S Supreme Court.
Connecticut prohibited the use of drugs or instruments to prevent conception, and the giving of assistance or counsel in their use. The laws in question had been enacted in 1879 (and originally written by P.T. Barnum, of circus fame):
Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned.
Does the Constitution protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on a couple's ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives?
Read the Bill of Rights, are there any amendments that apply to this case? Explain.