381 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1678, 14 L.Ed.2d 510
Supreme Court of the United States
Estelle T. GRISWOLD et al. Appellants,
STATE OF CONNECTICUT.
Argued March 29, 1965.
Decided June 7, 1965.
Defendants were convicted of violating the Connecticut birth control law. The Circuit Court in the Sixth Circuit,
Connecticut, rendered judgments, and the defendants appealed. The Appellate Division of the Circuit Court
affirmed, and defendants appealed. The Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors, 151 Conn. 544, 200 A.2d 479,
affirmed, and the defendants appealed. The Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Douglas, held that the Connecticut law
forbidding use of contraceptives unconstitutionally intrudes upon the right of marital privacy.
Mr. Justice Black and Mr. Justice Stewart dissented.
**1679 *479 Thomas I. Emerson, New Haven, Conn., for appellants.
Joseph B. Clark, New Haven, Conn., for appellee.
*480 Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Appellant Griswold is Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. Appellant Buxton
is a licensed physician and a professor at the Yale Medical School who served as Medical Director for the
League at its Center in New Haven-a center open and operating from November 1 to November 10, 1961, when
appellants were arrested.
They gave information, instruction, and medical advice to married persons as to the means of preventing
conception. They examined the wife and prescribed the best contraceptive device or material for her use. Fees
were usually charged, although some couples were serviced free.
The statutes whose constitutionality is involved in this appeal are ss 53-32 and 54-196 of the General Statutes of
Connecticut (1958 rev.). The former provides:
‘Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall
be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined
Section 54-196 provides:
‘Any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be
prosecuted and punished as if he were the principal offender.’
The appellants were found guilty as accessories and fined $100 each, against the claim that the accessory statute
as so applied violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Appellate Division of the Circuit Court affirmed. The
Supreme Court of Errors affirmed that judgment. 151 Conn. 544, 200 A.2d 479. We noted probable jurisdiction.
379 U.S. 926, 85 S.Ct. 328, 13 L.Ed.2d 339.