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Reproductive Rights

Contraception Rights

Though far less devisive than abortion, the regulation of contraception use has been the focus of heated legal debate. In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut set the precedent for legal debate over contraception rights. In Griswold the Court ruled that states cannot prohibit married couples from using contraceptives. In Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), consistent with the Griswold decision, the Court invalidated a law that prohibited the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried individuals. The decision extended the constitutional right to privacy to unwed individuals. Likewise, in 1977, the Court struck down a New York law that prohibited the sale or distribution of contraceptives to minors in Carey v. Population Services International. Each of these cases served to broaden reproductive rights in the area of contraceptive use.

Since Carey, changes in the congressional climate have brought about new rulings which challenge old precedents. In July of 1998 the House Appropriations Committee, by a 32-24 vote, gave approval to an amendment requiring teens seeking prescription contraception at Title X family planning clinics to have parental consent or to have clinics notify parents five business days in advance of providing such products. Despite the fact that most health insurance plans provide coverage for prescription drugs, the majority exclude coverage for prescription contraceptives. In addition, while most insurance plans cover routine outpatient surgeries, elective sterilization procedures are usually not covered.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesReproductive Rights - Definition, History, A Succession Of Court Battles, Abortion-related Legislation Becomes A Must