Forty-seven years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that contraception bans are unconstitutional.

The case, Griswold v. Connecticut, was brought when Estelle Griswold (pictured here on the left with fellow Connecticut Planned Parenthood League employee Cornelia Jahncke) and Dr. Jack Buxton were convicted in 1961 of violating the state's birth control law by giving medical advice about and prescribing contraceptives to married couples who asked about them.

Your Constitutional Rights - 1-minute podcast about case 

The Supreme Court ruled in 1965 that Connecticut's law was unconstitutional.

Justice William Douglas wrote: "While it may shock some of my Brethren that the Court today holds that the Constitution protects the right of marital privacy, in my view it is far more shocking to believe that the personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution does not include protection against such totalitarian limitation of family size, which is at complete variance with our constitutional concepts. Yet, if upon a showing of a slender basis of rationality, a law outlawing voluntary birth control by married persons is valid, then, by the same reasoning, a law requiring compulsory birth control also would seem to be valid. In my view, however, both types of law would unjustifiably intrude upon rights of marital privacy which are constitutionally protected. "

Yet almost 50 years later the fight over contraception continues.

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum denounced it as giving people license to perform sexual acts they shouldn't be doing and others are fighting against its inclusion in insurance coverage -- as if it isn't as medically necessary as other medications.

Let's look at the facts.

  • Virtually all sexually active women use contraception over the course of their lives.
  • Contraception is good for women's health, and the health of their families. Since Griswold, both maternal and infant mortality rates have declined. Controlling pregnancy spacing has positive effects on birth outcomes such as low birth-weight and premature birth.
  • Contraception is good for women's economic welfare. It allows women to make educational and employment choices that benefit themselves and their families.

Stand-up for contraception today.

Tell Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that you support access to affordable contraception for all women.