Today in America, based on Guttmacher 60% of women in reproductive age used birth control but it wasn’t always like this. Back on 60 years ago women were being denied the right to use birth control this idea was challenged in a landmark court case Griswold v. Connecticut, in the state of Connecticut residents could be fined or imprisoned under Comstock law if they were caught using contraceptives in order to prevent conception but that’s been changed in 1965 when the Griswold v.
Connecticut case struck down the Comstock law and creating the right to privacy for everyone. On this essay, in order to better understand the Griwold v. Connecticut, I will tackle the origin of 1879 Comstock law as well as the event that broke the law, the case and the argument in the case, the ruling of Amendments in the case, and future impact in the cases.
In 1879 Comstock law, according to pbs.org Antony Comstock was a New York Salesman, who was disgusted with the prostitution and pornography that he saw in the streets of New York.
He believes that the availability of contraceptives was the cause. So, in 1872 he travelled to Washington and lobbied for Congress to pass an anti-obscenity bill that would be able to distribution of obscene materials including contraceptives. He then went to smaller states such as New York, Massachusetts in Connecticut and lobby for them to pass similar laws would uphold federal law. In 1879, Connecticut was the first passed the Comstock law but unlike any other state, they were the first to ban the actual use of contraceptives.
This law will affect people in the which raise in the Griswold v. Connecticut On November 1st, 1961, Estalle Griswold who was the executive director for Planned Parenthood and Dr. Charles Buxton a gynecologist illegally open to Planned Parenthood with the intention to challenge the law that they thought unconstitutional. They counsel married couples and how to prevent conception and after examining the wife.
They prescribe contraceptives. After doing that Griwold and Buxton were both arrested and charged with breaking the Comstock law. This was her goal. According to Oyez.org Griswold and Buxton has strong enough case to be heard in the front of the US Supreme Court. Their representatives Thomas I. Emerson argued in the front of Chief Justice Earl Warren and associate justices that the state cannot pass a law that forbids all people to use contraceptives and is forbidden to do so by due process in the First Amendment. He also argued with law was over broad because it applies to married couples and to women whose lives may be at risks if they become pregnant. On the other hand, the state of Connecticut expresses by Joseph B. Clark argue that married couples can still practice birth control because as men can withdraw and the rhythm method are available to marry couple in Connecticut. He also argued that the state did have rights to pass a law his only intention is to reduce the chances of immorality and to act as deterrent sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
In the deliberation of the question that was asked was “does the Constitution protect the right of marital privacy against states restriction on caucus ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives?” the state of Connecticut argument was not strong enough to persuade and not associate justices to uphold the 1873 Comstock law. They agree that the constitution protect the rights married couples because there are great areas in the first, third, fourth, fifth, ninth, and fourth Amendment that together create a right to privacy in other words, the bill of rights state the individual laws but when they are together, they create an inherent right to privacy against government invasion of citizen rights, the result of the ruling, many things changed the 1879 Comstock law was struck down, Estalle Griswold and Dr. Charles Buxton convictions were reversed and the rights of privacy was created for married couples.
the Griswold v. Connecticut creates impacts later other cases. Such as the 1972 Eisenstadt v. Baird for right to birth control for unmarried couples, the 1973 Roe v. Wade for right to abortion for any women, 2003 Lawrence v. Texas for right to homosexual relations, and 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges for right to same sex-marriage all of this case the privacy was extended to them and also extended the principles of Griswold v. Connecticut. In conclusion, I discuss the origin of 1879 Comstock law as well as the event that broke the law, the case and the argument in the case, the ruling of Amendments in the case, and future impact in the cases. So, the 1879 Comstock law was stuck down, and the right of privacy was created for everyone. The next time you make a personal decision think about the 1879 Comstock law and the Griswold v. Connecticut case it gave you the right to your privacy.