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Constitutional right to privacy is under unprecedented threat

(New Haven, CT)- June 7, 2022, marks the 57th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to privacy regarding reproductive decisions, ruling that it is unconstitutional to regulate birth control for married couples. This landmark case helped lay the foundation for the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, rooted in constitutional privacy. Planned Parenthood of Southern New England honors this anniversary as another example in Connecticut’s history of pushing reproductive rights forward. However, this work is not done. Today, we face a full-on attack of our reproductive rights and access to care with the Supreme Court set to overturn or dismantle Roe v. Wade.

Estelle Griswold, the executive director of Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and C. Lee Buxton, a doctor and professor at Yale Medical School, courageously opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven in November 1961. Soon after, they were arrested, fined, and found guilty as accessories to providing illegal contraception. At the time, Connecticut had one of the most restrictive obscenity and contraception statutes which mirrored the Comstock Law and banned the use of contraceptives altogether.

Griswold and Buxton appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on June 7, 1965, a 7-2 decision stated that the Connecticut law banning contraception violated the constitutional right to privacy.

Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut has since become Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE), serving patients from Connecticut and Rhode Island. PPSNE is proud to carry on the legacy of Estelle Griswold by making contraception available to the 28,000 patients who seek it each year.

PPSNE’s President and CEO, Amanda Skinner, comments, “The anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut is a critical piece of our history at PPSNE. But this history is also our present day. We are still fighting for reproductive freedom across the country as we brace for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and undo almost 50 years of legal precedent. It has never been clearer-- they’re not just coming for abortion. They’re coming for contraceptives, transgender care, marriage equality, and more.

“Connecticut has taken bold action this year to ensure patients have access to safe, legal abortion care in our state with the passage of the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act.  And in Rhode Island, the time is now to pass the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to ensure that Rhode Islanders truly have equitable access to abortion, regardless of health insurance or income. As we celebrate this anniversary and reflect on our right to make decisions about when and whether to have a family, we must continue to do everything we can to expand abortion access in Connecticut and Rhode Island-- for our patients and for patients coming from other states so that all people can control their own bodies, lives, and futures.”

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is determined to carry forward the legacy of bravery and leadership of Estelle Griswold and all who worked and continue to work to ensure that contraception, abortion, and other reproductive health care is accessible to all people. Health care is a human right, and PPSNE will continue to provide compassionate, nonjudgmental care to all who seek it, no matter what.


Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) is one of the region’s largest providers of sexual and reproductive health care services. Since 1923, PPSNE has evolved into an organization with 15 health centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island, delivering care to 65,000 patients annually. For nearly 100 years, PPSNE health centers have provided a broad range of services, sexual health education, information, and health counseling. PPSNE’s works towards fulfilling the vision of a just society where sexual and reproductive rights are basic human rights, where health care is equitable and accessible to all, and where each person lives their healthiest life.


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