Document Type


Publication Title


Publication Date



Amid discussions of whether the FDA should approve a so-called Viagra for women, which creates a desire for sex (rather than simply facilitating it), it is hard to imagine a world in which it was a crime for a married couple to use birth control. But that indeed was the law that sparked a lawsuit and led to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, fifty years ago this week.

On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court found a surprising thing: a constitutional right of married couples to access and use contraception. It didn’t literally find those words in the Constitution—of course they don’t appear—but it found, in the “penumbras and emanations” of several amendments, a right to privacy that was broad enough to encompass this particular right.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.