Brief Fact Summary.
Connecticut passed a law banning the use of contraceptives. Plaintiffs were convicted of violating this law, and they challenged the state law in court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The Constitution protects the right to marital privacy.
The rights of husband and wife, pressed here, are likely to be diluted or adversely affected unless those rights are considered in a suit involving those who have this kind of confidential relation to them.View Full Point of Law
In 1879, Connecticut passed a law that banned the use of any drug, medical device, or other instrument in furthering contraception. Plaintiffs opened a birth control clinic in New Haven. They were arrested and convicted of violating the law, and their convictions were affirmed by higher state courts. Their plan was to use the clinic to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under the Fourteenth Amendment before the Supreme Court.
Does the Constitution protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on a couple’s ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives?
Yes, the Constitution protects the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on a couple’s ability to be counseled in the use of contraceptives.
There is no way to infer that the Constitution contains a right to privacy.
The right to privacy may be traced to the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The right to privacy may be derived from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A right to privacy can be inferred from several amendments in the Bill of Rights, and this right prevents states from making the use of contraception by married couples illegal. While the Court explained that the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments create the right to privacy in marital relations. The Connecticut statute conflicted with the exercise of this right and was therefore held null and void.