- The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which overturned Roe v. Wade — does not affect the right to birth control.
- This includes access to intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control pills and Plan B
- However, some constitutional law experts are concerned that the court’s recent ruling may signal it is prepared to overrule other precedents as well.
The right to birth control — including intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control pills and Plan B — is still protected in all 50 states.
In Griswold v. Connecticut — a 1965 case that focused on a law in Connecticut that banned contraception — the Supreme Court ruled that a state’s ban on contraception violated married couples’ right to privacy.
The decision in Griswold set the framework regarding the constitutional right to privacy and paved the way for future cases, like Roe v. Wade.
Though the fall of Roe does not directly impact people’s right to use birth control, some constitutional law experts are concerned that the court’s recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which overturned Roe — may signal that the Court is prepared to overrule other precedents.
“The Court in Dobbs established that any right not specifically spoken to in the Constitution needs to be deeply rooted in our history and tradition in order for the Constitution to guard it. Given their logic, I am exceptionally concerned that Griswold, along with a number of other cases expanding the right to privacy, are now on track to be stripped of Constitutional protection at the federal level,” Nicholas Creel, an assistant professor of business law and ethics at Georgia College & State University who specializes in constitutional law, told Healthline.
No state currently bans contraception, and the current understanding is that the right to birth control is protected by the Constitution, according to Jessie Hill, JD, a constitutional law professor at Case Western Reserve University specializing in reproductive health rights.
“Contraception remains legal and accessible everywhere,” Hill said.
This includes all forms of contraception — birth control pills, patches and IUDs along with Plan B, which is available over the counter.
In the final ruling in Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas expressed that the Supreme Court should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold
Hill says that though it would not be politically popular for a state to ban contraception, the Court’s ruling in Dobbs — which ultimately involves the constitutional right to privacy — suggests the future of Griswold may be at risk.
“The troubling thing is that the Court’s methodology in Dobbs for deciding whether a right is protected by the Constitution seems to threaten not just the right to abortion but contraception as well,” Hill said.
The Court ruled that only the rights explicitly listed in the Constitution, or protected throughout the country’s history, would be protected by the Constitution.
“Neither of those things is the case with contraception, any more than abortion,” Hill said, noting that political advocacy is necessary to fight back against attacks on contraception access.
Even though restricting access to birth control at the current moment would be unconstitutional, there is no guarantee this will remain the case.
“Contraception was outright banned in states like Connecticut for several decades before the Supreme Court intervened,” Creel said.
Given the decision in Dobbs, Creel expects certain states to attempt to restrict or ban birth control again.
“The opinion virtually assured states that this Court is willing to move both quickly and radically when it comes to issues like this,” Creel said.
Hill says some legislatures may try to redefine certain types of contraception, like IUDs and emergency contraception.
“If that happens, courts will have to decide how they are going to treat them,” Hill said.
The right to birth control — including intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control pills and Plan B — is still protected in all 50 states. Contraception is protected by the 1965 ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, which established a constitutional right to privacy regarding contraception.
However, given the Court’s recent ruling in v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, law experts suspect the Court may go after other precedents — including Griswold — next.
What that means for the future of contraception is unclear, but certain states are expected to attempt to restrict or ban contraception.