Test for an Ancient Law

Twice before, Connecticut doctors had asked the Supreme Court to void the archaic law that bans the use of contraceptives in their state. In 1943, when one doctor said the law threatened his patients' lives, the court ruled against him because he failed to prove that it violated his own constitutional rights. In 1961, the court rejected another doctor's appeal for a declaratory judgment on the grounds that he presented an insufficient "controversy." Connecticut, the court told Yale's Dr. C. Lee Buxton, had never prosecuted anyone for violating the law and appeared unlikely to do so.

But the situation promptly changed, and...

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