Griswold Vs. Connecticut Essay

2335 words - 9 pages

Griswold vs. Connecticut

On June 7th 1965, married couples in the State of Connecticut received the right to acquire and benefit from contraceptive devises. In a majority decision by the United States Supreme Court, seven out of the nine judges believed that sections 53-32 and 54-196 of the General Statues of Connecticut , violated the right of privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The case set precedence by establishing marital (and later constitutional) privacy, and had notable influence on three later controversial ruling=s in Roe v. Wade (1973), Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) . The issue at hand was, and is still, one that still causes debate, wether a state has the authority to restrict the use and sale of contraceptives. Though it is not contraceptives, anymore, that is at the heart of the abortion debate, this ruling was the first step to the expectation of constitutional privacy.
Although marital privacy (and later personal privacy when Eisenstadt v. Baird, 1972, extended the rights to unmarried persons ), was at the heart of this ruling, there are many other compelling arguments in ruling this law unconstitutional. To examine these other points, including; freedom of speech/ press, right of association, privacy of the person, due process of law and the violation in restricting education, we must first have an basic understanding of the case itself.
The case rests on the violation of Griswold (the executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut and Buxton (the Medical director for the Center) of the Connecticut Statute that states :
(53-32) Any person who uses any drug, medical article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned. (54-196) Any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and punished as if were the principal offender.
Griswold and Buxton opened the clinic in 1961, in New Haven Connecticut, and were shut down ten days later and fined one-hundred dollars each. They appealed their convictions, stating that the law violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Essentially, the clinic operated as a medical advice center, where married persons could get counciling, advice, and instruction on contraception devises. For their advice they charged patients according to their ability to pay.
There was, however, a question to wether Griswold could assert the rights of married couples. But the Supreme Court ruled that she did because under the terms of the statute she could be convicted for offering her services to them and because her relationship with the married couples was a professional one. ACertainly the accessory should have standing to assert that the offense which he is charged with assisting is not, or...

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