October 28, 2012
I. Eisenstaedt v. Baird
II. CITATION: 405 U.S. 438 (1972)
On April 6th, 1967 at Boston University in William Baird violated Massachusetts law at the time when he handed a condom and a package of Emko vaginal foam to an unmarried 19 year old young woman. At the time of the incident, under Massachusetts state law “Crimes against Chastity” makes it a felony for anyone to give away a drug, medicine, instrument, or article for the prevention of conception except in the case of (1) a registered physician administering or prescribing it for a married person or (2) an active registered pharmacist furnishing it to a married person presenting a registered physician's prescription. The Massachusetts Supreme Court set aside the conviction for exhibiting contraceptives on the grounds that it violated Baird First Amendment rights, but sustained the conviction for giving away the foam. The law permitted married persons to obtain contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, but forbid single persons from obtaining them. After this Baird filed a petition for federal writ of habeas corpus, which was later refused by the federal district court. Once the refusal was appealed by the First Circuit Court, and the writ was eventually granted, the charge was dropped, the reasoning behind the charge being dropped is due to the fact that the court concluded that the Massachusetts state law was infringing on human basic rights, whether married or unmarried this right is found in the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.
IV. LEGAL ISSUES:
There are two main legal issues with this court case, the first being it should be a woman’s chose in the matter of whether she is allotted to take contraceptive or not, and the second being is there ethical reasoning behind the different treatment of women who are married and women are unmarried under the state law of Massachusetts. V. COURT DECISIONS:
In a 6-1 decision (2...