Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn (mother of actress Katharine Hepburn) and two of her friends, Mrs. George Day and Mrs. M. Toscan Bennett, form the Connecticut Branch of the American Birth Control League.
The Rhode Island Birth Control League is founded — initially focusing on the dissemination of contraceptive information to married women.
Estelle Griswold, director of Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut and C. Lee Buxton, M.D., the medical director of the clinic and chair of the Yale Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine, are arrested when they open a clinic offering birth control, directly violating state law that banned contraception. They would go on to challenge this law in the courts, leading to the 1965 Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut which legalized the distribution of birth control to married couples.
The Rhode Island Maternal Health Association joins the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, officially becoming Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island.
1965 - 1973
The Supreme Court rules in Griswold v. Connecticut that Connecticut's law banning contraception violates the constitutional right to privacy for married couples. This landmark ruling paved the way for future decisions that would broadly protect contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, and more. In particular, the precedent of a right to privacy would directly lead to the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, protecting the right to abortion.
Connecticut amends their state law to say “the decision to terminate a pregnancy shall be solely that of the pregnant woman in consultation with her physician".
Planned Parenthood of Connecticut and Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island merge to become Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Inc. (PPSNE).
Rhode Island codifies Roe v. Wade with the Reproductive Privacy Act and secures the fundamental right to privacy with respect to reproductive decisions.
Connecticut passes the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, expanding access to abortion and legally protecting medical providers and patients traveling to Connecticut seeking care.
Rhode Island passes the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, eliminating the discriminatory ban on public funding for abortion and ensuring that the nearly 90,000 reproductive-aged Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid or state employee insurance plans have access to abortion coverage.
Learn more: visit ppsne.org/centennial.