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Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S.

438 (1972)
Topic: “New” Substantive Due Process: Protection for
“Liberty” Interests in Privacy
(Maikli lang discussion niya wrt right to privacy. Mainly
equal protection ung issue. Or at least that’s what I
understood from the case lol)

A Massachusetts statute made it a felony for anyone to
give away a drug, medicine, instrument, or article for the
prevention of conception except in the case of:
- a registered physician administering or
prescribing it for a married person, or
- a registered pharmacist engaged in the business
of pharmacy furnishing it to a married person
presenting a registered physician's prescription.

William Baird was charged by Massachusetts: (1) for
exhibiting contraceptive articles in the course of delivering
a lecture on contraception to a group of students at
Boston University; and (2), for personally giving a young
woman (19 yo) a package of Emko vaginal foam, at the
close of his address, in violation of said law.

US District court of Mass dismissed appellee’s petition for
habeas corpus. CA reversed DA. The Massachusetts
Supreme Court set aside the conviction for exhibiting
contraceptives on the ground that it violated appellee’s
First Amendment rights, but sustained the conviction for
giving away the foam.

Whether the Massachusetts statute violates the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment--YES

HELD: ACQUITTED. Statute is unconstitutional. It violates
the rights of single persons under the Equal Protection
Clause because it provides dissimilar treatment for
married and unmarried persons who are similarly

 Fourteenth Amendment does not deny to States the
power to treat different classes of persons in different
ways. The Equal Protection Clause of that amendment
does, however, deny to States the power to legislate
that different treatment be accorded to persons
placed by a statute into different classes on the basis
of criteria wholly unrelated to the objective of
that statute. A classification must be reasonable, not
arbitrary, and must rest upon some ground of
difference having a fair and substantial relation to the
object of the legislation, so that all persons similarly
circumstanced shall be treated alike.

 In this case, there is no ground of difference (whether
the ground is to deter fornication, to protect health,
or to prohibit contraception) that rationally explains
the different treatment accorded to married and
unmarried persons under the Massachusettes statute
1) If the law's plain purpose is to deter fornication
(“to protect purity, to preserve chastity, etc”) the
statute does not reasonably relate to such goal,
as married persons to whom contraceptives are
available can use these in illicit sexual relations with
unmarried persons. Also, it is hard to distinguish
when the contraceptive will be used to prevent
conception (prohibited) or to prevent disease
2) The Court says that the statute never really
intended to protect health (health measure), as it
was in a chapter dealing with “Crimes Against
Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order”, thus it
was cast only in terms of morals. Besides, if health
were the rationale, the statute would also be
both discriminatory and overbroad. If there is
need to have a physician prescribe (and a pharmacist
dispense) contraceptives, that need is as great for
unmarried persons as for married persons.
3) If the Massachusetts statute is sustained simply as
a prohibition on contraception, it is still conflicting
to say that contraceptives are immoral, and are to be
forbidden to unmarried persons who will nevertheless
persist in having intercourse. Such a view of morality
clearly conflicts with fundamental human rights. In
the absence of demonstrated harm, it should be
beyond the competency of the state.

 The law's distinction between single and married
individuals failed to satisfy the "rational basis test."
Withholding that right to single persons without a
rational basis proved the fatal flaw

(In relation to privacy)
 Enforcement of the Massachusetts statute will
materially impair the ability of single persons to
obtain contraceptives. The Court concluded that
despite the statute's superficial earmarks as a health
measure, health, on the face of the statute, it is can
reasonably be regarded that its purpose is the
deterrence of premarital sexual relations.
o "If, under Griswold, the distribution of
contraceptives to married persons cannot be
prohibited, a ban on distribution to unmarried
persons would be equally impermissible. It is
true that, in Griswold, the right of privacy in
question inhered in the marital relationship.
Yet the marital couple is not an independent
entity, with a mind and heart of its own, but
an association of two individuals, each with a
separate intellectual and emotional
makeup. If the right of privacy means
anything, it is the right of the individual,
married or single, to be free from
unwarranted governmental intrusion
into matters so fundamentally affecting
a person as the decision to whether to bear
or beget a child."

 The conception of privacy at issue here is one which
allows each person to make decisions about their lives
which the government should not interfere with. SC
upheld the idea that the government is obligated to
respect a sphere of privacy for each individual, but
specifically focused on the individual as an individual,
rather than as a member of a family unit.