June 7th: Griswold v. Connecticut – A Landmark Decision for Marital Privacy and Contraception Rights

June 7, 2023

On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, a case that struck down a state law prohibiting the use of contraception, marking a significant milestone in the battle for reproductive rights and privacy.

The case began when Estelle Griswold, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and Dr. Charles Lee Buxton, a medical professor at Yale University, were arrested and fined for providing contraceptive advice and services to married couples. This was in violation of the Connecticut Comstock Act of 1879, which outlawed any drug, medicinal article, or instrument for preventing conception.

Griswold and Buxton appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 decision, the Court invalidated the Connecticut law, citing it violated the “right to marital privacy” and was thus unconstitutional. The Court argued that the Constitution contained a number of specific guarantees that created zones of privacy, and the marital bedroom was one such zone

This groundbreaking decision was the first to explicitly state a constitutional right to privacy, drawing from several amendments to make its case. Griswold v. Connecticut not only decriminalized the use of contraceptives by married couples, but it also set a precedent for reproductive rights and privacy laws that continue to shape American legal interpretation to this day.






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