The Court on Contraceptives

45 years ago today in Supreme Court history:

Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S. 678 (1977), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that it was unconstitutional to prohibit anyone other than a licensed pharmacist to distribute nonprescription contraceptives to persons 16 years of age or over, to prohibit the distribution of nonprescription contraceptives by any adult to minors under 16 years of age, and to prohibit anyone, including licensed pharmacists, to advertise or display contraceptives.

The Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not allow a state to intrude on an individual's decisions on matters of procreation which is protected as privacy rights.

The Court further held that : a) the prohibitions on the distribution of nonprescription contraceptives violated the due process clause of Amendment XIV.

b) minors were entitled to the same constitutional protections as adults.

c) each state has somewhat broader authority to regulate the activities of children than of adults.

d) the protection of the right of privacy included the right of an individual, married or single, to be free of unwarranted governmental intrusion in the area of personal decisions regarding intimate relations.


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