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42 Years After Griswold v. Connecticut, Women Are Still Denied Access to Birth Control, Including Emergency Contraception

New York, New York — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) today celebrates the 42nd anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that paved the way for recognition that birth control is basic health care for women. The 1965 ruling marked the first time that the Supreme Court recognized that women’s reproductive decisions are protected by the Constitution. However, women continue to experience the discrimination and humiliation of being refused access to birth control at pharmacies. In response to this growing and troubling trend, PPFA calls on Congress to pass the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act, which would guarantee women access to birth control, including emergency contraception (EC).

"Griswold v. Connecticut is a powerful reminder about the importance of access to birth control," PPFA President Cecile Richards said. "Four decades later, 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.”

Griswold v. Connecticut was the first in a long line of 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, which guarantees women the right to choose abortion free from unwarranted governmental intrusion. Forty-two years after Griswold, the struggle to protect women’s health and safety continues, and women face many obstacles to birth control, including pharmacy refusals. Recently, a pharmacy in Great Falls, Montana, refused to stock birth control or fill birth control prescriptions because its owners wrongly claim that birth control is “dangerous” for women.

Birth control refusals are a disturbing trend that jeopardizes women’s health and safety, and in at least 19 states, women have been denied birth control at the pharmacy counter. The ABC Act, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14) and Chris Shays (R-CT-4) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), would guarantee that any customer who brings a valid prescription for birth control to a pharmacy that carries it will get her prescription filled, in-store, without discrimination or delay, and that customers are not denied access to over-the-counter birth control.

“It’s 2007 — it’s outrageous that any woman would be denied access to basic health care, much less birth control or emergency contraception,” said Richards. “On behalf of the 2.4 million women who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control each year, we are urging lawmakers to pass the Access to Birth Control Act immediately and ensure that all women who need birth control can get it.”

Every year, in communities nationwide, Planned Parenthood affiliate provide millions of women, men and teens with the information, education and services they need to protect their health, prevent unintended pregnancy, plan and space healthy, wanted pregnancies — and ultimately, fulfill their dreams and destinies.

To learn more about pharmacy refusals, including a state-by-state guide to major pharmacy chains and their policies regarding access to birth control, please visit www.fillmypillsnow.org/.



Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Erin Kiernon, 212-261-4337


June 07, 2007


September 07, 2016