chapter  1
Comstockery and Contraception
Pages 36

The only effective laws suppressing birth control information and devices in American history were pure products of Evangelical Protestant fervor; nary a single Roman Catholic was involved. In key respects, these measures were actually the construct of one man: Anthony Comstock, a son of Connecticut, the last and—in a certain respect—the greatest of the Puritans. He won passage of a sweeping Federal measure that banned nationwide the import, sale, and distribution of contraceptive devices or information; another twenty-four state laws that effectively banned their possession and/or use: and judicial determinations that spread similar provisions to still another twenty-two states. Adopted mostly during the 1870s, none of these measures had been either repealed or significantly amended prior to his death in 1915; some residual aspects of the federal “Comstock Law” survive to this day.