Chapter 7.B.1 (or 5.B.1) -- Contraception


Notes: A Right to Avoid Procreation


Note 1. Another Constitutional Right?


For a recent article reviewing the early contraception cases and drawing connections to the Supreme Court’s invalidation of a state sodomy statute in Lawrence v. Texas, 123 S.Ct. 2472, (2003), see Donald H.J. Hermann, Pulling the Fig Leaf Off the Right of Privacy: Sex and the Constitution, 54 DePaul Law Rev. 909 (2005).


Note 4. Minors and Contraception.


For a recent study on the impact of requiring parental consent for contraceptives for minors, see Madeline Zavodny, Fertility and Parental Consent for Minors to Receive Contraceptives, 94 Am. J. Public Health 1347 (2004).


Note 5. Paying for Contraceptives.


Glaubach v. Regence Blueshield 74 P.3rd 115 (Wash. 2003) (court finds that two state statutes do not require insurance coverage for contraceptives).


Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. v. Superior Court, 85 P.3d 67, 32 Cal. 4th 527, cert. denied 125 S. Ct. 53 (2004) (upholding state Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act in constitutional challenge brought by employer which opposed contraceptives on religious grounds). 


Cooley v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 281 F. Supp. 2d 979 (E.D. Mo. 2003) (claim that exclusion of prescription contraceptives from insurance coverage violates Title VII survives motion to dismiss).


See the National Conference of State Legislatures for a summary of state contraception laws; (last visited July 20, 2006).


Note 6. Emergency Contraception


The AMA’s policy on emergency contraception can be found at   (H-75.985 Access to Emergency Contraception) (last visited July 20, 2006).


The controversy over access to emergency contraception has grown in recent years. The Governor of Massachusetts reversed a Department of Public Health ruling that allowed private and church-run hospitals to opt out of a state law requiring they provide emergency contraceptives (see (last visited July 20, 2006). See also Julie Cantor & Ken Baum, The Limits of Conscientious Objection—May Pharmacists Refuse to Fill Prescriptions for Emergency Contraception? 351 N. Eng. J. Med. 2008 (2004).


Several states have legislation related to emergency contraception, including laws authorizing specially trained pharmacists to dispense the drugs. Some states also have laws that protect pharmacists who refuse to dispense if doing so is against personal moral or religious beliefs. 

See the National Conference of State Legislatures, 50 State Summary of Emergency
Contraception Laws available (last visited July 20, 2006).


The FDA ignored the advice of an expert review panel in deciding to reject over the counter access to emergency contraception. Brian Vastag, Plan B for “Plan B”: FTC Denies OTC Sales of Emergency Contraceptive, 291 JAMA 2805 (2004). For the FDA’s position on the matter, see (last visited July 20, 2006).


For a discussion of the potential affect of ‘Plan B’ on abortion law see, John Leland, Abortion Might Outgrow Its Need for Roe v. Wade, N.Y. Times, October 2, 2005.