Yesterday marked the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision, Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). In the case, the Supreme Court protected the right of married couples to obtain contraceptives. Most importantly, the Supreme Court established the right of privacy doctrine which would be echoed in victorious cases for the rights of women; namely, Roe v. Wade (1973). This right to privacy doctrine was one which was used to repeal sodomy laws in Texas in the Lawrence v. Texas (2003) decision and has been used in several other Supreme Court cases not pertaining to bodily agency or access to contraceptives.
It is important to remember Griswold not only for its implications for the lives of women and families everywhere, but also for the lives of other marginalized groups. Additionally, we should note that although Griswold is settled within American case law, our fight continues. One has to look no further than the assassination of the late Dr. Tiller or the recent fights over the Affordable Care Act and its provisions (or lack thereof) for abortion coverage to see that our fight still goes on. The female body is still a battleground, even in 2011. It is a scary proposition and one that angers me as well as many feminists alike, but we must continue our fight because in the end, we will prevail.
Griswold serves as a reminder to me that although women’s rights seem to be slowly eroding, we will continue to move forward. It is undeniable that women today, in America, have better access to contraceptives and legal abortions than did the women of the 1960s. These cases of settled law serve to show us that although our rights continue to be infringed upon we are, at least theoretically, somewhat protected within the legal realm. We must continue the fight and one day, I hope in the near future, we will win.