Most people know that they can come to Planned Parenthood for birth control. But do they know why they can? Or why they should care?
Fifty years ago this week, Estelle Griswold, who was the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut, led the fight to the Supreme Court to protect access to birth control. This case struck down a Connecticut law that had made the use of birth control by married couples illegal – pause – yes, you read that correctly, it was illegal for married couples to use birth control - and paved the way for the commonplace usage and acceptance of contraception that we see today.
Contraception isn’t just about preventing pregnancy and disease transmission. One-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives, and being able to get the pill before age 21 is considered to be the most influential factor in enabling women already in college to stay in college. Today, the majority of undergraduate college students are women. The number of women who complete four or more years of college is six times what it was before birth control became legal. Women earn half of all doctorate degrees, half of medical degrees, and half of law degrees. Women-owned firms are the fastest growing segment of new business in the U.S. and research shows a correlation between more women on corporate boards and higher profits. Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named family planning, including access to modern contraception, one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Wow! Thanks Estelle for your BIG part in ensuring not just freedom from unintended pregnancies and STDs, but also freedom for women to achieve their goals, plan their families, and dream big.