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Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

In Brief

The Connecticut legislature passed a law which outlawed the use of contraceptives, though it had never been enforced. Estelle Griswold and another employee at Planned Parenthood gave a married woman a prescription for a contraceptive device in order to challenge the law. After being charged with aiding and abetting a crime, they filed suit claiming the law was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court agreed, saying the law violated the right to marital privacy. The Court acknowledged that the Constitution does not mention a right to marital privacy, but it reasoned that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights - such as the right to free speech, the prohibition against quartering soldiers, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right against self-incrimination - together form "penumbras" or "zones of privacy." The Court concluded that marital privacy is in these "penumbras" and includes the right of married people to obtain contraceptives.

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