Historic Photos Of The Birth Control Supreme Court Case That Gave Women The Right To Make Their Own Choices

Activists rally against Hobby Lobby's choice to deny contraceptive healthcare coverage to its employees outside the Supreme Court March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court will hear arguments today if Hobby Lobby and other for profit corporations can refuse to cover contraceptive services in their employee's healthcare for religious reasons. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

This Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Griswold v Connecticut, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for legal birth control for all. The ruling overturned a statewide ban on birth control for married couples extending it to the federal level. Griswold v Connecticut was the first ruling of its kind and helped bring about the Eisenstadt v Baird ruling in 1972, extending the right to birth control to single women as well. It even set the foundation for Roe v Wade and was heavily cited in that case's argument as well as SCOTUS' decision.

Estelle Griswold, then the executive director of Connecticut's Planned Parenthood League was arrested in 1961, along with OB/GYN Dr. C. Lee Buxton, for illegally providing birth control at a recently opened clinic in New Haven. The two were convicted in 1962 and forced to pay $100 apiece, and the clinic was shut down. After the conviction, Griswold entered into a lengthy court battle that would take her cause to the highest court in the land, ultimately reopening the New Haven clinic and helping Griswold expand Planned Parenthood even further. Griswold's legacy certainly hasn't been forgotten: She's been inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame and is still celebrated today for her pioneering efforts.

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As a way to commemorate this historic ruling, Planned Parenthood launched a #Griswold50 hashtag campaign that has social media users giving thanks for the women's rights victory. Photos of women holding signs that say "Griswold, thank you for" followed by personal messages have been popping up on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Many have been sharing memories of older relatives recalling the ruling as well as statistics proving that the issue of birth control is more far-reaching than helping in family planning and pregnancy prevention.

Extensive research points to birth control allowing more women to attend college than ever. For that reason, women's wages have risen as a result. According to a 2005 Florida State University paper entitled The Pill and the College Attainment of American Women and Men, women's college enrollment rates following the Griswold ruling increased by five percent with college completion rates even rising for older students who enter college in their 30s. Access to birth control continues to be an issue that affects us all. California is trying to make it even easier for women to get the contraceptives they need with the implementation of a bill that allows women to pick up birth control essentially over the counter. It's a big step in the right direction and one we can thank Griswold v Connecticut for helping to bring about.

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