Ask someone to list the most fundamental Supreme Court cases impacting women’s health, and Griswold v. Connecticut, decided fifty years ago, on June 7, 1965,is unlikely to rise to the top; few Americans outside of health and legal spheres have ever heard of it. Yet the Supreme Court’s Griswold decision not only paved the way for Roe v. Wade, but in its own right profoundly impacted legal protections for women’s healthcare.
Griswold established the right to privacy in the marital bedroom, and from that flowed a recognition of the right of a woman to make reproductive decisions without interference from the state. Seven justices based their majority opinion in Griswold on the Bill of Right’s privacy protections, which, they found, include the ability to make reproductive decisions within the confines of marriage. Essentially, after Griswold, the state cannot make contraception for married persons illegal. The same Court eventually extended those rights to unmarried persons in Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972, and, a year later, protected the ability of a woman to end a pregnancy in the considerably more recognized Roe v. Wade.
Birth control was one of the significant achievements of the 20st century, furthering women’s physical health and economic stability and mobility as few health interventions have. Examining the list of positives for both mother and infant alike, it is not hard to understand why. Read the full article here. »