The Supreme Court Rules that State Laws Cannot Ban Contraceptives (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: The overturning of a Connecticut law banning contraception established the constitutional guarantee of a right of privacy and aided the 1960’s sexual revolution.
Summary of Event
Attempts to prevent conception have existed in human evolution and medical practice for thousands of years. Even in societies scorning birth control and sterility, the desire to control reproduction has existed. Only since the late nineteenth century, however, has there been a planned, organized effort to educate the general population about contraception. In preliterate primitive societies, abortion and infanticide were the chief practices limiting population growth; contraception was relatively infrequent. When attempts at contraception were undertaken, mixtures of potions, herbs, and powders with supposed magical properties were ingested, or complete abstinence or withdrawal were practiced. Egyptian papyri dating from about 1850 b.c.e. and 1300 b.c.e. speak of contraception in the form of combining physical and chemical features to prevent or interrupt pregnancy. The ancient Hebrews also practiced such contraceptive techniques as coitus interruptus and the use of intravaginal spongy substances, potions, and violent movements. The Egyptian and Hebrew techniques were passed on to the Greeks and Romans, whose writers, physicians, and encyclopedists spoke knowledgeably of contraception. Abortion is also mentioned in the...
(The entire section is 1970 words.)
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