March 19, 2018


Looking for PR & Finance Directors -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Elections 2016-2017 -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why the ERA Failed: Comfort Over Content in the Fight for Women’s Rights -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Extent to Which Parents Should Regulate Their Children’s Abortions -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Human Rights in a Reclusive Context: North Korea -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Separation without Justification: Parental Rights of Pregnant Juveniles in Correctional Facilities -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

U.S. Asylum after September 11: Failures of the PATRIOT and ID Acts -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Genomicare: The Affordable Care Act of 2023 -

Thursday, May 5, 2016

“Social Worker with a Gun:” The Role of Policing in Harm Reduction Among Addicts -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pulling Principles Out of Thick Air: The Incorporation of Customary International Law Under the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 After Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Schuette v. BAMN: Moving Toward a Colorblind Constitution -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

American Women in Combat: What Israel and Canada Can Teach the United States About Integration -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Now Accepting Submissions! -

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Join WULR! -

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Intersection of Lawlessness and Justice: Police Misconduct -

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Recommendation for Eliminating Lifetime Tenure for Federal Judges -

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Admissions Panel A Great Success! -

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Law School Admissions Panel -

Monday, November 3, 2014

VICTORY OF THE MINORITY: The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Fight for Constitutional Rights -

Monday, June 30, 2014

VACATING CONVICTIONS: The Efficacy of One Form of Relief from the Consequences of Conviction -

Monday, June 30, 2014


Article submissions are now open for the Journal! Deadline: December 19!


WULR Volume VI, Issue III, Spring 2013

Birth Control and the Law in the United States: An Historical Approach

Tierney O’Rourke
Stanford University

From slavery to Jim Crow, the Treaty of Paris to the Dawes Severalty Act, the Alien and Sedition Acts to the Patriot Act, and the Comstock Acts to limitations of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, American law has, at one time or another, prohibited African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and women from fully enjoying freedom. During the first two hundred years of United States history, women were largely relegated to the home, exemplifying ideals of republican motherhood, domesticity, and moral superiority – but rarely republican citizenship. This social division, however, placed the burden of childbirth and childrearing solely on women. Due to changing economic and social pressures, a growing desire to limit family size took root, and couples began seeking contraceptive methods. While contraception allowed women more freedom, many members of early American society saw this as an affront to traditional values of domesticity. Thus, laws regulating contraceptives appeared as a means to preserve traditional values, and thereby excluded women from fully experiencing American freedom. As women increasingly moved into the public sphere, the need for contraceptive options intensified, fueling the efforts of Margaret Sanger and other birth controllers. This paper traces the legal history of the birth control movement, ultimately concluding that the fight for contraceptive rights, then, exemplifies the larger trend in United States history of limiting, and expanding, the blessings of liberty in a legal context.

To continue reading this article please refer to our “Ordering” tab and purchase your hard copy of this publication, or download an online copy from our “Issues” tab. Thank you.

Leave A Comment