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Forty Years After Griswold v. Connecticut Case, Women Still Face Obstacles to Accessing Reliable Birth Control Options

WASHINGTON, DC — On June 7, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of constitutional protection for using birth control in the United States. In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law that made the use of birth control by married couples illegal with its ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut. However, 40 years later, women still face unnecessary and often politically-motivated barriers to contraception.

PPFA and pro-choice supporters from the Washington, DC, area are celebrating the anniversary of constitutional protection for using birth control with an event on Massachusetts Avenue outside of DC's Union Station. The event will feature a giant birth control pill and pill pack, celebrating the "birthday of birth control." There will also be a press conference on Capitol Hill with Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) featuring members of Congress and leaders of the choice community, including PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. The press conference will take place at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

"As we celebrate today, we know that the battle for access to birth control is not over," PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl said. "Even now, we are in the midst of fighting off legislation and policies that would deny women their birth control prescriptions at pharmacies. The future of the Supreme Court is shaky at best. Planned Parenthood will continue to be the leading advocate for reproductive health and rights wherever they are threatened."

The Supreme Court's landmark decision was announced June 7, 1965 — five years after FDA approval of the birth control pill and 49 years after Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. Griswold paved the way for the 1972 Supreme Court ruling in Eisenstadt v. Baird, which expanded the protection of birth control to unmarried women — and for the widespread use of contraception that exists today.

"Planned Parenthood was founded on the commitment to provide reproductive health care services and information to people to prevent unintended pregnancy and plan and space healthy, wanted pregnancies," said Pearl. "The mission continues today. Since Griswold, we've led the charge for insurance coverage for contraceptives, advocated for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception and worked to make sure women can get access to their birth control at their pharmacy without discrimination or delay."

Planned Parenthood has been at the forefront of efforts to provide easy and immediate access to all forms of birth control, including emergency contraception. Birth control is basic health care used by more than 95 percent of American women at some point in their lifetimes.

Photographs of the event will be downloadable at www.plannedparenthood.org.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Erin Libit (202) 973-4883


June 06, 2005