Categories: Catherine Roraback, Health and Medicine, New Haven, P.T. Barnum

Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut – Today in History: November 1

US District Court, New Haven
US District Court, New Haven

On November 1, 1961, Estelle Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton, an obstetrician at Yale University’s School of Medicine, opened the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut in New Haven. Griswold, a lifelong social activist, challenged Connecticut’s ban on birth control by offering family planning counseling and contraceptives.  Nine days later they were arrested and fined $100.  The court found Griswold and Buxton guilty of supplying married couples with contraceptives, which had been made illegal in 1879 by a statute prohibiting the use of “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.”  The statute, sponsored by Connecticut legislator and famed showman P. T. Barnum and urged on by the “Comstock laws” of politician Anthony Comstock, remained on the books in 1961 making it illegal to use contraceptives of any kind in Connecticut. The case would go on to the US Supreme Court in 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut.

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Documents

“Guide to the Planned Parenthood of Connecticut Records, 1879-Ongoing.” New Haven Museum, 2013. Link.
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