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42 Years After Landmark Case,
Women Are Still Fighting Attacks on Birth Control Access

Statement by Cecile Richards,
President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Washington — “It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Catherine Roraback, a powerful voice for women’s health, and a courageous, creative force for change.

“Catherine’s fight for birth control access paved the way for tens of millions of women to have affordable birth control.  Griswold v. Connecticut didn’t just open doors for women and couples to make private decisions about their reproductive health care; it changed the way we think about basic health care rights. When Catherine Roraback stood up for Estelle Griswold, she stood up for American women for generations to come. She was a true American hero.

“Unfortunately, four decades later, we are still fighting the battles Catherine started. Too few women and couples have comprehensive, affordable access to contraception, including emergency contraception. As America’s leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, Planned Parenthood knows that prevention is the key to building strong, healthy families. Yet just last week, President Bush appointed an anti-birth control activist, Susan Orr, to head our nation’s family planning program. In Congress, Planned Parenthood is under attack for our determination to provide women with the full range of reproductive health care services, with our Title X funding serving as the target for right-wing hardliners.

“We fight every day to continue the work Catherine started. As we celebrate the life and mourn the loss of this truly extraordinary woman, our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”

Griswold v. Connecticut was the first in a long line of U.S. Supreme Court cases that established the constitutional right of women to plan and space healthy, wanted pregnancies, including Eisenstadt v. Baird, which extended the right to use birth control to unmarried women, and Roe v. Wade, in which the court found that the constitutional right to privacy extends to the decision of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to terminate her pregnancy. The 1965 ruling marked the first time that the Supreme Court recognized that women’s reproductive decisions are protected by the Constitution.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Christy Setzer, 202-973-4975


May 13, 2014