The Public Policy
Casey v. Planned Parenthood

By Michael G. Smith

Chapter 4
The Casey Court and
the Sexual Revolution


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An assumption of Justice OíConner is that the sexual revolution requires and demands legal abortion. Justice OíConner wrote in the plurality opinion in Casey that society relies "...on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail."{106} In other words, contraception, a key hallmark of the sexual revolution, necessitates legal abortion. Thus, by ruling that legal abortion is protected by the U.S. Constitution, the Court has given itís support to the sexual revolution.

The sexual revolution in the U.S. traces it history to Margaret Sanger in the 1920's.{107} Margaret Sanger was founder of the Birth Control League, which later became the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Sanger identified the objective of her promotional activities as "unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children."{108} She also identified other values of the sexual revolution that she promoted when she wrote that "[Women must have the right] to live ... to love ... to be lazy ... to create ... to destroy ... The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order."{109} Legal abortion and infanticide, two of the ultimate goals of the sexual revolution was also described by Sanger as "the most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members..."{110} Margaret Sanger promoted the use of birth control through many publications and speaking engagements until her death in 1966, with the 1920's as her most prolific years in the promotion of birth control and sexual liberty.

After Margaret Sanger introduced the concepts of the sexual revolution, it was the Anglican Lambeth Conference in 1930 that removed the moral prohibition of birth control from the moral theology of the Anglicans. Following suit, virtually all Protestant denominations cast off their moral prohibitions against the use of birth control in the 1930's, leaving the Catholic Church as the only major Christian denomination that objects to the use of birth control. Notwithstanding the Churchís objections to birth control, most Catholics find birth control acceptable, thus the sexual revolution has found widespread acceptance even among most Catholics. Thirty-five years after the Anglican Lambeth Conference, the U.S. Supreme Court cast off all legal prohibitions against birth control in Griswold.{111}

The widespread acceptance of the birth control pill has led to sexual promiscuity and increased the number of unintended pregnancies. Even the original developers of the birth control pill now acknowledge that their invention has led to widespread promiscuity. Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School said that "For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I've changed my mind. I think it probably has."{112} Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, one of the co-developers of the birth control pill, has acknowledged that "[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity ... I personally feel the pill has rather spoiled young people. It's made them more permissive."{113}

Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former director of Planned Parenthood, drew a clear picture of the effect of birth control use as a cause of abortion within the context of increased promiscuity; "When an abortion is easily obtainable, contraception is neither actively nor diligently used. If we had abortion on demand, there would be no reward for the woman who practiced effective contraception. Abortion on demand relieves the husband of all possible responsibility; he simply becomes a coital animal."{114} Finally, psychologists Eugene Sandburg and Ralph Jacobs noted the cause-and-effect connection between contraception and abortion; "As legal abortion has become increasingly available, it has become evident that some women are now intentionally using abortion as a substitute for contraception."{115} Planned Parenthood biostatistician Dr. Christopher Tietze added that "Within 10 years, 20 to 50 percent of pill users and a substantial majority of users of other methods may be expected to experience [multiple] abortion[s]."{116}

The advent of completely unfettered birth control availability in the 1965 Griswold{117} decision increased the demand for abortion. This increased demand for abortion was satisfied by the U.S. Supreme Court eight years later in Roe v. Wade.{118} Later, in Casey, the Court, through the plurality opinion written by OíConner, explicitly recognized the necessity of legal abortion in a society that has legalized birth control.{119} Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court has fully implemented the sexual revolution through itís rulings on birth control and abortion.{120}


{106}Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 856, 112 S.Ct. 2791 (1992).

{107}Dr. Brian Clowes, Margaret Sanger: Mother of the Sexual Revolution, in Pro-Life Encyclopedia (American Life League, 1995).

{108}Margaret Sanger, The Woman Rebel , reprinted in Woman and the New Race 1 (1922).



{111}381 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1678 (1965).

{112}Dr. Robert Kirstner, ALL About Issues 5 (June, 1981).

{113}Dr. Min-Chueh Chang quoted in Prof. Charles E. Rice, Nature's Intolerance of Abuse, in ALL About Issues 6 (Aug., 1981).

{114}Dr. Alan Guttmacher, 22 Rutgers Law Review 415-443 (1968).

{115}Eugene C. Sandburg, M.D. and Ralph I. Jacobs, M.D., Psychology of the Misuse and Rejection of Contraception, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 227-237 (May 15, 1971).

{116}Christopher Tietze, A Speaker's and Debater's Guidebook 24 (National Abortion Rights Action League, June, 1978).

{117}381 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1678 (1965).

{118}410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705 (1973).

{119}Id. at 856.

{120}It often said that morality canít be legislated, when it fact, morality is always legislated. Nearly all laws are rooted in public policy that is in turn rooted in some moral philosophy, whether the philosophy is Christianity, atheism, libertarianism, utilitarianism, or socialism. All moral philosophies seek some vision of a better, or perfect society. A more moral society. When these philosophies are implemented into law, morality is thus legislated. Morality is always legislated because all legislation, or lack thereof, has a philosophy. For example, morality is regulated, even by Roe v. Wade. The morality of Roe v. Wade says the unborn child is not a human person. Thus, the Court has made a moral judgement, which was implemented into law when the court prohibited state regulation of abortion in Roe and itís companion case, Doe v. Bolton. A ban on abortion would likewise regulate morality, but based on an opposite moral judgement; that the unborn human is of equal moral value to born humans. Either decisions on abortion are a legislation of morality.

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