Jump to content

Comstock Act of 1873

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Comstock laws)

The Comstock Act of 1873 refers to a series of current provisions in Federal law that generally criminalize the involvement of the United States Postal Service, its officers, or a common carrier in conveying obscene matter,[1] crime-inciting matter, or certain abortion-related matter.[2] The Comstock Act is largely codified across title 18 of the United States Code and was enacted beginning in 1872 with the attachment of an extraneous rider to a postal service reconsolidation bill.[3] Amended multiple times since initial enactment, with most recently in 1996,[4] the Act is nonetheless often associated with U.S. Postal Inspector and anti-vice activist Anthony Comstock.[5]

Comstock Act of 1873
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAct for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use
NicknamesComstock Act of 1873
Enacted bythe 42nd United States Congress
Citations
Public law42-438
Statutes at Largech. 258, 17 Stat. 598
Codification
Acts amendedSec. 148 of an Act to revise, consolidate, and amend the Statutes relating to the Post-office Department
U.S.C. sections created18 U.S.C. § 552, 18 U.S.C. § 1462, 18 U.S.C. § 1463, 19 U.S.C. § 1305, 39 U.S.C. § 3001(e)
U.S.C. sections amended18 U.S.C. § 1461
Legislative history
Major amendments
United States Supreme Court cases

The law was applied broadly for much of its history, before the scope of enforcement narrowed after various court rulings, and modern enforcement is primarily focused on prosecuting child pornography (with the most recent conviction under the Act being made in 2021).[6][7] In spite of its contentious nature, something that has throughout the years spawned a variety of legal challenges on enumerated powers doctrine, vagueness doctrine, First Amendment grounds, etc., the Comstock Act has thus far been widely upheld as constitutional.[note 1]

The Comstock Act does not criminalize obscenity, criminal incitement, or abortion directly but it criminalizes the use of the mail, a common carrier, or an interactive computer service in the conveyance of these materials. Since abortion pills like mifepristone are used in over 50% of American abortions,[8][9] the Comstock Act has been the focus of more legal, political, and media attention following litigation and legislative activity by various actors in the U.S. anti-abortion movement who aim to utilize the Act's provisions to restrict abortion access in the United States.[10][11]

Text[edit]

Preface[edit]

The majority of what is considered to be the Comstock Act is found in sections 1461 through 1463 of chapter 71, of part I, title 18 of the United States Code. The rest of chapter 71, of part I, title 18, United States Code, consists of various provisions from the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988[note 2] and the PROTECT Act of 2003.[note 3]

18 U.S.C. § 1461[edit]

The first of the three sections of the Comstock Act which are contained under chapter 71 of part I, title 18, United States Code, is section 1461. This is the initial Comstock Act provision, as currently amended, and it was first enacted as an extraneous rider under Sec. 148 of an Act to revise, consolidate, and amend the Statutes relating to the Post-office Department.[3] The punishment for violating section 1461 is either an unspecified fine, a jail sentence of up to 5 years for a first offense, a jail sentence of up to 10 years for any subsequent offense, or a combination of a jail sentence and a fine, as is stated in its text.[12]

There exists two elements to an offense under section 1461. First, it must relate to that described; chiefly, either obscene or pertaining to abortion. Second, a person must knowingly mail, cause to be mailed, or remove from the mail, anything specified. The following is a brief summary of the matters covered:

  1. An obscene article.[note 4]
  2. An article designed, adapted, or intended for obscene or abortion-causing purposes.[note 5]
  3. An article advertised or otherwise described in a manner calculated to lead to its application for obscene or abortion-causing purposes.[note 6]
  4. Mail matter giving information as to who, what, where, or how an article (either designed, adapted, intended for use or described in a manner to calculated to incite its use for obscene or abortion-causing purposes) may be obtained or made.[note 7]
  5. Mail matter giving information as to from who, where, how, or by what means an act or operation for abortion may be procured or produced.[note 8]
  6. Mail matter advertising or representing as to whether or by what means an article may be applied for obscene or abortion-causing purposes.[note 9]
  7. Mail matter calculated to incite use of an article for obscene or abortion-causing purposes.[note 10]

There are a number of implications with these specifics listed in 18 U.S.C. § 1461.

First, as summarized in points 1, 2, and 3 above, this section outright criminalizes activities related to the mailing of three categories of objects and to this extent has been upheld as constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court.[13][14][15][16]

Second, as summarized in point 4 above, this section criminalizes activities related to the mailing of information providing as to from who, where, what, or how an article, already criminalized from being mailed outright, may be obtained or made. Although it holds little precedential value, as it was a decision by a United States district court,[17] this provision was ruled unconstitutional (for being overbroad) in United States v. Goldstein (1976).[18]

Third, laws prohibiting conveyance of material providing information on the procurement of legal abortion were ruled unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds in Bigelow v. Virginia (1975).[19] As far as illegal abortion procurement is concerned, that is criminal solicitation and the First Amendment affords no constitutional protection.[20] It has been noted in one scholarly article that successful prosecution for criminal solicitation of abortion under this Act would be difficult as nothing in the text specifies which of the laws on either end of the solicitation govern the legality, nor whether state or federal law would govern.[21]

18 U.S.C. § 1462[edit]

The second of the three primary sections of the Comstock Act is codified in positive law title at section 1462 of chapter 71 of part I, title 18, United States Code. It was initially enacted under Sec. 211 of the Criminal Code Act of 1909 on March 4, 1909.

The punishment for a violation of section 1462 is identical to that provided for violating section 1461. Similarly there exists two elements to an offense under this section. First, the matter in question has to be of the nature described. Second, a person must knowingly commit any of the specified acts (which in this section is either import, carriage across a state or international border, or receipt of the specified material) and implicate in connection either the U.S. mail, a common carrier, or interactive computer service.[22]

In terms of differences to the previous section, section 1462 deviates in that its scope expands to cover the use of a common carrier or interactive computer service. Section 1461 only applies to the U.S. Mail, but section 1462 covers both that and a private package delivery service such as United Parcel Service or Federal Express.[23] An interactive computer service generally includes an internet website.[24][25] Another difference of 18 U.S.C. § 1462 is in its scope, which is more limited than 18 U.S.C. § 1461, as it describes three as opposed to the seven particular matters. The three matters specified in 18 U.S.C. § 1462 are:

  1. An obscene article (to include the additions of 'a thing capable of producing sound' or a 'motion picture film').
  2. An article designed, adapted, or intended for obscene or abortion-causing purposes.
  3. Mail matter giving information as to who, what, where, or how an article (either designed, adapted, intended for use or described in a manner calculated to incite to its use for obscene or abortion-causing purposes) may be obtained or made.[note 11]

18 U.S.C. § 1463[edit]

The final Comstock Act provision in chapter 71, of part I, of title 18, United States Code, found at section 1463, concerns mailing any of the matters mentioned in section 1461 or 1462 on the outside of a mail piece. Like section 1462, this section came initially as an amendment (contained in Sec. 212.) through the Criminal Code Act of 1909. A violation of this section carries a jail term of up to 5 years, an unspecified fine, or both as a penalty. This section has no sentence enhancement for prior offenses, unlike section 1461 or 1462.[26]

18 U.S.C. § 552[edit]

There is one section of the Comstock Act found in title 18, United States Code, which is outside chapter 71 of part I. This is 18 U.S.C. § 552,and pertains to customs officials acting as principal to certain activity. For abortion-related matter, this section applies to the extent implicating procurement of abortion. This section, currently codified in a positive law title, was first enacted as Sec. 4. of an Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.[3]

There are four elements to an offense under this section. First, one must be either an officer, employee, or agent of the United States. Second, one must knowingly aid or abet any of the specified offenses (importing, advertising, dealing, sending, or receiving). Third, the knowing aiding or abetting by an officer, employee, or agent of the United States must implicate use of the mail. Fourth, the offense must implicate any of the matters specified.[27] These are summarized below:

  1. Obscene articles.
  2. Articles advocating or urging treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance against the United States.
  3. Mail matter containing true threats of physical harm to or taking the life of any person in the United States.
  4. Articles containing means for procuring abortion, for which surrounding case law has limited to the unlawful procuring of abortion.[19]

Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930 (or 19 U.S.C. § 1305)[edit]

In addition to the criminal importation provisions under section 1462, there is also a civil forfeiture provision of the Comstock Act.[28] While an earlier version did exist, as Sec. 5. of the Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use,[3] the modern version was initially enacted under Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930 and is currently codified (in a non-positive law title) at section 1305 of title 19, United States Code. It presently provides that:

All persons are prohibited from importing into the United States from any foreign country any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertisement, circular, print, picture, or drawing containing any matter advocating or urging treason or insurrection against the United States, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States, or containing any threat to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the United States, or any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertisement, circular, print, picture, drawing, or other representation, figure, or image on or of paper or other material, or any cast, instrument, or other article which is obscene or immoral, or any drug or medicine or any article whatever for causing unlawful abortion, or any lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery...

This provision has two basic aspects. First and foremost, it subjects certain matters to civil forfeiture. Secondly, it provides a number of exceptions. These exceptions are items imported without the importer's knowledge, bulk abortion-related materials not intended for unlawful use, classic books of recognized merit when permitted by the Secretary of the Treasury, and lottery tickets printed in Canada after 1993 for use in lotteries within the United States.[29]

39 U.S.C. § 3001(e)[edit]

The last section of the Comstock Act is found at 39 U.S.C. § 3001 in subsection (e), and it declares that unsolicited contraceptives are non-mailable unless the addressee is a manufacturer or trader in contraceptives, a physician, a nurse, a pharmacist, a hospital, or a clinic.[30] This provision was ruled unconstitutional in Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp (1983), as-applied to business mailings, due to an as-applied First Amendment challenge.[31][32][33]

Definitions, knowledge requirement, statute of limitations, etc.[edit]

Concerning the definitions used in the Comstock Act, there are three key definitions: indecent, obscene, and knowingly.

For purposes of the Comstock Act, the term indecent is defined in the text as including "matter of a character tending to incite arson, murder, or assassination".[12] This distinct definition has been narrowed by court rulings and current enforcement has applied the term as a synonym for obscene.[34][35][36]

The term obscene is not defined in the actual text of Comstock Act, nor is it defined in the text for much of any of U.S. obscenity law, but the Miller test provides the most current definition used by courts when judging obscenity.[37][38][39] The Miller Test has three prongs which are as follows:

  1. The average person applying contemporary community standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  2. the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and
  3. the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

For reference, under the Model Penal Code, a guide often used to assist in legislative drafting, the knowingly criminal knowledge requirement, the second most stringent behind purposely, is defined as follows: "A person acts knowingly with respect to a material element of an offense when...he is aware that his conduct is of that nature...if the element involves a result of his conduct, he is aware that it is practically certain that his conduct will cause such a result."[40]

As nothing in its text indicates otherwise, and since a violation of the Act is a non-capital offense, it has a 5-year statute of limitations.[41][42]

Jurisprudence on the Comstock Act (1878 to present)[edit]

Contemporary[edit]

Context[edit]

In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 6-3 majority opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022). This decision devolved regulation of abortion back to the states, overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), and ended recognition of pre-viability abortion access as a constitutional right. Consequently, the applicability of the Comstock Act to abortion-related articles has become subject to legal dispute.[11]

Much of this dispute has arisen concerning mifepristone,[43] an antiprogestogen and antiglucocorticoid drug. Mifepristone is approved (under the brand name Mifeprex), in a regimen with misoprostol (a prostaglandin analogue), for ending of a pregnancy up to 70 days post gestation.[44] Mifepristone is additionally approved on its own (under the brand name Korlym) as a treatment for Cushing's syndrome.[45] Mifepristone is sometimes used, albeit off-label in the United States, in treating fibroids, treating endometriosis, treating miscarriage, or inducing labor.[46]

Mifepristone was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, and this approval was accompanied by a REMS requirement that imposed restrictions on its access. These restrictions were imposed for largely political reasons,[47] and mifepristone is safe and effective for both in-clinic supervised use in medication abortion,[48] as well as self-administration in self-managed medication abortion.[49] The restrictions imposed by the mifepristone REMS disproportionately posed a barrier to abortion access by members of marginalized groups.[50] Beginning in 2016 and expanded in 2021, the FDA removed much the restrictions imposed by the REMS requirements. This action by the FDA decreased barriers to mifepristone access, so mifepristone has since became more common as an abortion medication in the United States.[51]

Following the outcome in the thus mentioned Dobbs decision, various actors in the anti-abortion movement began efforts in a campaign of litigation (explained in further detail below) and passing ordinances, citing the Comstock Act in the process, with the ultimate goal being restricted access to mifepristone, and abortion more broadly, in United States.[52]

FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (2024)[edit]

In March 2023, the group Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, an anti-abortion group founded in 2022, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the FDA's approval of mifepristone from back in the year 2000.[10] Trial court hearings in the case occurred on March 15, 2023.[53] On April 7, 2023, Matthew Kacsmaryk, a district judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, ruled at the trial-level in that case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that the approval of mifepristone was improper, the lifting of REMS restrictions was improper, and the Comstock Act of 1873 made providing medication abortion by mail illegal. This ruling by judge Kacsmaryk conflicted with an opposing same day ruling issued by a U.S. district court in Washington (state).[54][55][56] The ruling by Kacsmaryk was criticized in the Washington Post as using cherry picked scientific data, presenting a biased tone, and being an example of forum shopping.[57][58] Biopharmaceutical groups were also critical of judge Kacsmaryk, claiming his ruling "set a precedent for diminishing FDA's authority over drug approvals, and in so doing, [created] uncertainty for the entire biopharma industry".[59]

Upon appeal (six days later) to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, some of the ruling by judge Kacsmaryk was partially stayed and some of the claims presented were thrown out, although a sizable portion of Kacsmaryk's ruling emerged unscathed. The challenges to mifepristone's initial approval were barred, but the challenges to the lifting of REMS restrictions were allowed to go forward.[60] In the appellate review, circuit judge James C. Ho dissented from the majority and argued, like judge Kacsmaryk, that mifepristone was barred from mailing by the Comstock Act and that FDA approval of mifepristone did not change this.[61][62] The case was later appealed from the Fifth Circuit to the Supreme Court. During oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court on March 26, 2024, regarding the regulatory status of mifepristone, Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar about the Comstock Act, the particular effect of section 1461 as applied to FDA-approved drugs.[63][64]

On June 13, 2024, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine did not have standing (no plaintiff suffered a concrete and particularized injury-in-fact) sufficient to bring the case, and thereby the Supreme Court avoided a direct ruling on whether the Comstock Act applies to mifepristone or whether mifepristone was properly approved.[65][66] Reproductive healthcare experts such as physician Daniel Grossman considered the case outcome a narrow reprieve, expressing disappointment that it even made it before the Supreme Court in the first place, and remarking "[m]ifepristone and medication abortion are broadly in the crosshairs of the anti-abortion movement".[67] Legal counsel representing the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine were unimpressed, with chief counsel Erin Hawley claiming it was decided over a "technicality".[68]

Historical[edit]

Congressional authority to enact the Comstock Act[edit]

Ex parte Jackson (1878) was the first case brought before the Supreme Court of the United States that considered the constitutionality of the Comstock Act. While primarily pertaining to a facial challenge mounted against a federal law barring the mailing of lottery items, the Court nonetheless made reference to the Comstock Act.[14][69] In doing, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed both the lottery circular law and the original provision of the Comstock Act (18 U.S.C. § 1461) as being valid exercises of Congressional authority under the Postal Clause.[16] This holding concerning the Comstock Act's initial provision was reaffirmed in later cases like Roth v. United States (1957), United States v. Reidel (1971), and Smith v. United States (1977).[70][71][13][72][73][15]

The 1909 amendment to the Comstock Act (18 U.S.C. § 1462) applies to both the U.S. mail and a common carrier and has been upheld on Commerce Clause grounds, as opposed to Postal Clause grounds, with United States v. Orito (1973) illustrating this.[74][75] In a separate 1973 case, the Supreme Court would similarly uphold Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1305) as a valid exercise of authority under the Commerce Clause.[34][76]

Vagueness challenges[edit]

The broad language used in the Comstock Act has, mostly in the years since the Dobbs decision, lead to some opining that the Comstock Act, particularly 18 U.S.C. § 1461, is unconstitutionally vague.[77][21] However, the understanding built by the surrounding case law has been largely dismissive of vagueness challenges. For instance, in Hamling v. United States (1974), the Supreme Court would uphold section 1461 by adopting a saving construction that conformed the section with the Miller test.[36][78] Later, in Smith v. United States (1977), the Supreme Court would push back against another vagueness argument (this time presented as an as-applied challenge).[79][73] Writing for the court, Justice Harry Blackmun, best known for writing the opinion delivered in Roe v. Wade (1973),[80] would go on to explicitly state the following:

Neither do we [the Supreme Court] find § 1461 unconstitutionally vague as applied here. Our construction of the statute flows directly from the decisions in Hamling, Miller, Reidel, and Roth. As construed in Hamling, the type of conduct covered by the statute can be ascertained with sufficient ease to avoid due process pitfalls. Similarly, the possibility that different juries might reach different conclusions as to the same material does not render the statute unconstitutional.

— Justice Harry Blackmun

United States v. 12 200-ft Reels of Film (1973) and United States v. Thirty-Seven Photographs (1971) adopted a similar line of interpretation towards 18 U.S.C. § 1462 and Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930 (or 19 U.S.C. § 1305) respectively.[34][76] The opinion in Thirty-Seven Photographs was handed down two years prior to Miller v. California (1973) and additionally interpreted a 14 day time limit into beginning forfeitures under Sec. 305 of the Tariff Act of 1930.[35][15]

Obscenity statutory interpretation[edit]

While the standards for what constitutes obscenity have changed since the Comstock Act's initial passage, the Act's application to obscenity has been upheld against an array of First Amendment challenges. As an example, in Roth v. United States (1957), a case partially superseded by Miller v. California (1973) as to the particular test used, the Supreme Court would uphold the Comstock Act against a First Amendment challenge.[70][72] In One, Inc. v. Olesen (1958), decided as a follow-on to Roth, the Supreme Court ruled that material pertaining to homosexuality isn't obscene by-default[81][82] and later reaffirming the conclusion in MANual Enterprises v. Day (1962).[83][84] The Miller test is the obscenity test currently applied to the Comstock Act, as explained in the opinion for Hamling v. United States (1974).[36][78]

Statutory interpretation of abortion-related references[edit]

With respect to the Comstock Act's references to abortion, which currently have not yet been removed as had the reference to contraceptives, historical interpretation has generally construed this as applying to articles intended for unlawful abortion, reconciling it with Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930, which does make such a distinction.[43][85][12]

Scholarly discussion[edit]

Status as a RICO predicate[edit]

An area of interest to legal scholars concerned the effect of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 which, among other things, added 'dealing in obscene matters' as a predicate offense for purposes of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO). It was initially believed by some scholars that this modification to RICO would get struck down as an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment protected conduct and that federal anti-obscenity law, particularly the Comstock Act, might go down with it.[86] Nine years after that modification was made to RICO, this concern would be answered as the Supreme Court, in Alexander v. United States (1993), upheld, against a First Amendment challenge, a RICO forfeiture pertaining to obscenity.[87][88]

Textualist analysis of statutory construction in regard to abortion[edit]

There has been scholarly analysis, using a textualist framework, which argues that the historical framing of the Act in the context of abortion is ill-supported due to nothing in the Comstock Act's text (other than that resurfaced as Sec. 305. of the Tariff Act of 1930) making an explicit 'illegal intentions' distinction, the fact that the majority of decisions adopting an 'illegal intentions' construction are from United States courts of appeals (that only bind to courts in that particular circuit),[17] and the non-legally-binding nature of historical revision notes in the U.S. Code (unlike statutory notes which do have force of law).[89][90]

Related issues[edit]

Contraceptives[edit]

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was charged in 1915 for her work The Woman Rebel. Sanger circulated this work through the U.S. postal service, violating the Comstock Act. On appeal, her conviction was reversed on the grounds that contraceptive devices could legally be promoted for the cure and prevention of disease.[91] Her husband, architect William Sanger, was similarly charged earlier that year under a New York law against disseminating contraceptive information.[92] In 1932, Margaret Sanger arranged for a shipment of diaphragms to be mailed from Japan to a sympathetic physician in New York City. When U.S. customs confiscated the package as unlawful contraceptives, Sanger aided that physician in filing a lawsuit to contest the seizure. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries (1936) that the Comstock Act was not to be construed as interfering with practice of medicine.[91][93]

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) struck down a contraception related Comstock-style law in Connecticut. However, Griswold only applied to marital relationships.[94][95] Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) extended its holding to unmarried persons as well.[96] In 1971, the U.S. Congress removed the reference to contraceptives from the federal-level Comstock Act, but left much the rest of the Act stand as it had been written.[4]

Contemporary enforcement[edit]

Due to its age, the Comstock Act has been referred to by some commentators, in publications such as MSNBC and Slate, as a "zombie law".[97][98] However, the Act remains just as effective as does any other federal law unless repealed or amended.[99] The doctrine of desuetude (a common law concept that a law is repealed by implication if it hasn't been used in a long time) has never garnered widespread support in U.S. courts.[100]

The law has had some prosecutions in recent years, though enforcement of the Act's provisions has shifted from obscenity generally to primarily being a tool in securing child pornography convictions, as evidenced by federal appellate court decisions from 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2022.[101][102][103][104] The most recent conviction made under the Comstock Act, with five of the nine charges being brought forth under 18 U.S.C. § 1462, was that of Thomas Alan Arthur, a Texas man who was sentenced in 2021 to 40 years in federal prison for his role as the operator of an internet site which acted as a paid repository of obscene writings and drawings pertaining to child sexual abuse.[6][105] According to FBI agent Roger Young,[106] the Comstock Act (and other federal obscenity laws) were initially the only tools available for federal authorities to combat child pornography:

All along [my career], I had some national and international child pornography cases and cases involving child prostitution. But when I [first] began working child pornography cases early in 1977, there were no child porn laws. We [the FBI] used obscenity laws to prosecute child porn.

This change in enforcement, from general obscenity to an emphasis on child sexual abuse material, was bolstered by the Reagan Administration and by the outcome in New York v. Ferber (1982), a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that child pornography is not protected by the First Amendment.[107][108] President Reagan made child sexual abuse prosecution a priority during his administration and stated[109] in 1987, "this Administration is putting the purveyors of illegal obscenity and child pornography on notice: your industry's days are numbered.".

The Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988, signed by President Reagan as a rider to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, amended Sec. 305 of the Tariff Act of 1930, a provision of the Comstock Act, as well as adding new provisions to chapter 71, of part I, title 18, United States Code, all in aid of helping prosecute child pornography.[note 2] Another anti-child-pornography and anti-obscenity law to be signed by President Reagan is the Child Protection Act of 1984 and it was the first law to generally outlaw child pornography at the federal level.[110] The Reagan-era amendments do not stand alone though, as President Bill Clinton later signed into law 1994 and 1996 amendments to the Comstock Act that increased its penalties and expanded the scope of 18 U.S.C. § 1462 to cover an interactive computer service (internet website).[4]

President Reagan's Remarks at the Signing Ceremony of the Child Protection Act on May 21, 1984.

Present-day discourse[edit]

Context[edit]

Following the outcome reached in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022), the Comstock Act has become increasingly discussed by anti-abortion groups and public figures as being a means by which abortion access in the United States could be curtailed without the need for new federal legislation.[111][112][113][11][114][115][116]

Anti-abortion discourse[edit]

In a February 2024 interview with The New York Times, Jonathan F. Mitchell, an attorney active in the anti-abortion movement and a former Solicitor General of Texas, expressed an optimistic viewpoint about the Comstock Act's applicability to abortion: "We don't need a federal [abortion] ban when we have Comstock on the books." However, Mitchell nonetheless hoped that former-President Donald Trump wouldn't discuss the issue: "[I hope Trump] doesn't know about the existence of Comstock, because I just don't want him to shoot off his mouth [emphasis added]." Mitchell said similarly of anti-abortion activists: "I think the pro-life groups should keep their mouths shut as much as possible until the [2024 presidential] election [emphasis added]."[117] Ed Whelan, another attorney active in the anti-abortion movement and former president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank, expressed a view similar to that of Mitchell's and criticized Biden administration policy towards abortion. "By hook or by crook, the Biden administration is determined to undermine or circumvent state laws restricting abortion", said Whelan.[118]

The Heritage Foundation's Project 2025, a self-styled "mandate for leadership" intended for use by a future conservative President of the United States, has a section on abortion access that indirectly refers to the Comstock Act as "federal laws that prohibit the distribution of abortion drugs by postal mail."[77][119]

On February 2, 2023, twenty Republican State attorneys general issued a letter to CVS and Walgreens against the mailing of mifepristone and misoprostol in combination, citing the Comstock Act.[120] This letter by the twenty State attorneys general was in response to announcements by CVS and Walgreens in January 2023 that the pharmacy chains would begin processing mifepristone-misoprostol prescriptions.[121] In March 2023, Walgreens announced it would not distribute mifepristone-misoprostol in combination within those twenty states.[122]

Abortion rights discourse[edit]

Legislators in favor of abortion access, such as Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) have, since the 2022 Dobbs decision, advocated for the repealing of the Comstock Act's language relating to abortion.[123] On June 20, 2024, Senator Smith announced that she was going to be unveiling legislation to achieve that goal.[124][125] Senator Smith's proposed legislation is not the first time legislators in the United States have proposed or introduced legislation to repeal the Act's abortion-related language. In 1997, Representative Barney Frank introduced the Comstock Cleanup Act in an effort to achieve this same goal, although his bill would fail (not even making to committee).[126]

Implications[edit]

If the Supreme Court were to affirm a determination that the Comstock Act applies to abortion-related articles generally, or if a future administration began enforcing it in such a way, then the Comstock Act could have renewed significance as mifepristone and misoprostol are used in 63% of the abortions performed in the United States[127] and mifepristone is sometimes prescribed after miscarriages.[128] This combination regimen has increasingly been prescribed through telehealth and delivered by mail to individuals within states where abortion has since been broadly restricted following the Dobbs decision.[129]

Some concerns raised, if this view took hold, are that not only would the use of telehealth to prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs used in combination for most medication abortion, become largely criminal but, since Comstock Act violations are a predicate offense, persons (and their associated enterprises) involved in provisioning abortion telehealth could also face penalties under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970.[130]

For reference, as of March 1, 2024, medication abortion is effectively banned in fourteen U.S. states according to NBC News.[131] Restrictions on medication abortion disproportionately impact persons who are either low-income, a member of a marginalized group, or both.[132] Even in the absence of direct restrictions, and even prior to the Dobbs decision, abortion has been practically inaccessible to many Americans due to an array of factors, including, but not limited to, finances, age, or geography.[133][134][135] In addition, since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has barred Medicaid from covering the cost of an abortion in most instances, imposing a barrier to abortion access by persons even in U.S. states without restrictive abortion laws.[136][137]

Historical background[edit]

The symbol of Comstock's New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

General[edit]

The initial Comstock Act provision was enacted as an extraneous rider under Sec. 148 of an Act to revise, consolidate, and amend the Statutes relating to the Post-office Department, and passed on June 8, 1872.[3] It read:

That no obscene book, pamphlet, picture, print, or other publication of a vulgar or indecent character, or any letter upon the envelope of which, or postal card upon which scurrilous epithets may have been written or printed, or disloyal devices printed or engraved, shall be carried in the mail; and any person who shall knowingly deposit, or cause to be deposited, for mailing or for delivery, any such obscene publication , shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall, for every such offence, be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, according to the circumstances and aggravation of the offense.

This section was amended by Sec. 2. of Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use, a law enacted on March 3, 1873 by then-President Ulysses S. Grant.[3] The amendment made by Sec. 2. of that Act criminalized any use of the U.S. Postal Service to send any of the following items:[138] obscenity, contraceptives, abortifacients, sex toys, personal letters with any sexual content or information, or any information regarding the above items.[139] The provisions of the Comstock Act, as currently revised, only pertain to obscene, crime-inciting, or abortion-related articles or mail matter.

In addition to the federal law about half of the states enacted laws related to the federal Comstock Act.[140]: 9  In a 1919 issue of the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Kansas judge J. C. Ruppenthal, after reviewing the various laws (especially state laws) called them "haphazard and capricious" and lacking "any clear, broad, well-defined principle or purpose".[141]

Objectives and intent[edit]

According to psychologist Paul R. Abramson, the widespread availability of pornography during the American Civil War (1861–1865) gave rise to an anti-pornography movement, culminating in the passage of the Comstock Act in 1873,[142] but which also dealt with birth control and abortion issues.

The historical enforcement of Comstock-style laws targeted pornography, contraceptive equipment, abortion drugs and devices, materials providing descriptions of contraceptive or abortion methods, materials advertising people with information of or providing for birth control, abortion, or other similar things. A particular concern to historical enforcers was targeting advertisements for abortifacients found in penny papers, with these pills often advertised to women as a euphemistic treatment for "obstruction of their monthly periods."[143]

Anthony Comstock's views of morality were strict. During the height of his career, some anatomy textbooks were even prohibited from being sent to medical students by the United States Postal Service.[144] According to Mary Ware Dennett, Comstock defined "perverts" as those using contraceptives outside of marriage. Thus, believing that government ought not "allow any one at all to secure them or know anything about them."[145] In her view, Comstock's reasoning seems to have been that if one outlawed all contraceptive information, etc., the morals of youth were less likely to be corrupted.[140]

Legislative history[edit]

Brief legislative context[edit]

As mentioned above, the initial provision of the Comstock Act was enacted in 1872 as an extraneous rider to a broader postal service reconsolidation bill. Afterwards, Anthony Comstock worked to introduce a stand-alone bill with more comprehensive provisions. The legislative history of this bill, the Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use, is summarized below.

Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use[edit]

Due to his personal connections with Justice William Strong, Comstock got his bill introduced before the United States Senate by Senator William Windom (R-MN) on February 11, 1873, as S. 1572. It was reported without amendment from the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads by Senator Alexander Ramsey (R-MN) on February 13, 1873. On the following day, through motion by Senator William A. Buckingham (R-CT), it was recommitted back to that committee. It was later reported with an amendment (by Senator Buckingham) for consideration before the Committee of the Whole, but its consideration was postponed through motion by Senator Allen G. Thurman (D-OH) on February 18, 1873. Consideration was postponed yet again, this time through motion by Senator Buckingham on February 20, 1873. On February 21, 1873, the bill passed, with the Buckingham amendment, in the Senate by unanimous consent after being read three times. The bill passed without objection in the United States House of Representatives on March 1, 1873. Finally, the Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 3, 1873.[146]

Further legislative context[edit]

YMCA[edit]

In February 1866, the executive committee of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) of New York privately distributed a report, written by Cephas Brainerd and Robert McBurney, entitled, "A Memorandum Respecting New-York as a Field for Moral and Christian Effort Among Young Men." This memorandum linked the main message of the YMCA to facts and figures drawn from census, tax, and licensing data. All of this data was used to support the belief held by the Association's leadership that many of its younger and less supervised members had ample time in the evenings to leisure about in bars, casinos, and brothels. The 1866 memorandum was used to support a plan to construct a centrally located building to better serve the younger men of New York.[147] However, the memorandum also recommended, in addition to this new building, a 'call to action' by the organization's members to investigate whether or not there were any local anti-vice laws in New York. Upon concluding there were none, the group lobbied in the New York State legislature for an anti-vice law. The New York YMCA-drafted bill was successfully enacted in 1868, although with less comprehensive language than had been first proposed. This 1868 law enabled local magistrate judges to issue warrants allowing police to seize and later destroy (upon a guilty verdict) materials ruled "obscene".[147]

Anthony Comstock[edit]

Anthony Comstock, anti-vice activist and namesake of the Comstock Act, got his political start when he campaigned against saloons in Brooklyn. Later introduced to the YMCA, Comstock would form a close ties with the organization. Along his career, he became unhappy with the before-mentioned New York law and believed in a need for federal legislation. In 1872, Comstock managed to get the initial provision of the Comstock Act added as an extraneous rider to a postal service re-consolidation bill. Although Comstock had hoped this initial law would be enough to mitigate the postal service's use in facilitating 'vice', he soon became disappointed as gaps in the law appeared. To remedy these perceived problems, Comstock worked on a new stand-alone piece of legislation, which passed in 1873.[147] Anthony Comstock later secured a position as a United States Postal Inspector. In spite of this, the Committee for the Suppression of Vice at the New York YMCA, which would later splinter off to become the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, requested that he not be given a government salary. By preventing Comstock from receiving a federal salary, as well as any other publicly-funded monetary rewards, the organization's directors attempted to prevent claims of self-interested motives and to ensure that Comstock was dependent on their donations.[148]

Extended works of Comstock along the lines of these laws include a petition from the Committee for the Suppression of Vice to include obscene written works that were enclosed in a sealed envelope, an item that was not covered in many renditions of Comstock-style laws, as an item to convict for a punishable offense.[149] Other works that he tried to enclose under the range of the laws that used his namesake include international art pieces that depicted scantily-clad women, textbooks for medical students, and other sexually non-explicit items. These efforts left some of his original supporters to doubt his intentions. Comstock's career as a postal inspector yielded over 3,600 arrests and the destruction of over 160 tons (150,000 kg) of material ruled to be obscene.[150]

Historical discourse[edit]

Historical support[edit]

Obscenity arguments[edit]

As the chief proponent of the law, many of Comstock's justifications revolved around what he believed were the negative effects indecent literature would have on children. He argued that moral decay was occurring in schools and in the home because of indecent literature, something he believed youth had easy access to. He also argued that allowing "obscenity" to flourish in society would cause a social breakdown of traditional marriage and of religious institutions. Comstock leaned on support from wealthier families for the majority of his legislative and political success.[151] Clinton L. Merrian, who aided the Comstock Act's passage through the House of Representatives, campaigned its passage on the idea that obscenity threatened masculinity and that in order to protect it, the mailing of obscene materials needed to be outlawed.[151]

Contraception arguments[edit]

As it originally implicated contraceptives, it was argued by some supporters that the Act would help prevent "illicit" sexual relations between unmarried persons, since without contraception, the unmarried would be deterred from having sex due to the possibility of unintended pregnancy.[140] Father Coughlin, a Catholic priest and radio broadcaster, argued in support of the Act before a 1934 congressional committee, characterizing non-procreative sex as "legalized prostitution". During his testimony, there was heckling from the audience, with one woman calling out to Coughlin, "You're ridiculous."[152]

Historical opposition[edit]

1878 repeal attempt[edit]

Four years after the enactment of the federal law, a petition was circulated by the National Liberal League for its repeal in 1876, garnering between 40,000 and 70,000 signatures.[140]: 63–65  Although the petition received positive press coverage, the efforts were stymied when Anthony Comstock showed samples of pornographic material to congressional leaders serving on the same committee for which the proposed repeal act was referred. Comstock claimed that the pamphlets he had shared, a "collection of smutty circulars describing sex depravity",[140]: 65  had been distributed by mail to youths and other persons.

In March 1879, the National Defense Association submitted a letter of affidavits to Samuel Sullivan Cox, a congressional representative from New York, for review with the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads.[153] The National Defense Association had been established in opposition shortly after the enactment of the Comstock Act. The letter of affidavits had been sent in support of the petition from the National Liberal League. Anthony Comstock dismissed the petition after hearing about it, and he asserted that the list was made up of forged signatures and false names. Comstock would also go onto lambast the media for supporting the effort.[140]: 65 

Birth control movement failures[edit]

After the 19th century failures, there was no concerted effort to change Comstock-style laws until the start of the birth control movement in the United States in 1914, led by Margaret Sanger.[140]: 66  Between 1917 and 1925, bills were introduced in California (1917),[140]: 83, 287  New York (1917, 1921,1923, 1924,1925),[140]: 73–82, 282–84  Connecticut (1923, 1925),[140]: 82, 285  and New Jersey (1925)[140]: 82, 286  to make the contraceptive provisions of state laws less restrictive. In both California and Connecticut, work was undertaken to simply have the contraceptive control provisions eliminated. All these state attempts at change failed to come to a vote so no change happened. There were also failed attempts to eliminate the restrictions on contraceptives from the federal law too, first starting in 1919 with the bill's supposed sponsor failing to introduce legislation. In 1923 a similar bill was reported before the Judiciary Committee, and while it was thought that the majority of this committee favored the bill, they evaded voting on it.[140]: 98–98  There were also more attempts at change in the 1920s.[140]

Free Love[edit]

The Free Love movement of the Victorian-era United States was a group that made sustained attempts to repeal Comstock-style laws and discredit anything related to the anti-vice movement. This open distaste made free-love movement participants a major target of Anthony Comstock during his personal campaign against perceived obscenity.[151] Comstock actively targeted individuals associated with the Free Love Movement, particularly those advocating for birth control and criticizing traditional marriage.[154]

Anthony Comstock used the law bearing his namesake to go after those he perceived as promoting immorality.[155] One of Comstock's notable targets was Victoria Woodhull, a prominent figure in the Free Love Movement and an advocate for women's rights. Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, published a newspaper called "Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly" which promoted ideas about sexuality that challenged then-prevailing societal norms.[156] Comstock had Woodhull arrested and charged with obscenity for publishing information about contraception.[154]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See the historical jurisprudence for more information.
  2. ^ a b 18 U.S. Code § 1460, 18 U.S. Code § 1465, 18 U.S. Code § 1466, 18 U.S. Code § 1467, 18 U.S. Code § 1468, and 18 U.S. Code § 1469 were added to chapter 71 by the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act.
  3. ^ 18 U.S. Code § 1466A was added to chapter 71 by the PROTECT ACT.
  4. ^ "Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance...".
  5. ^ "Every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use...".
  6. ^ "Every article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose...".
  7. ^ This comes from the first half of one of the unnumbered subsections: "Every written or printed card, letter, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind giving information, directly or indirectly, where, or how, or from whom, or by what means any of such mentioned matters, articles, or things may be obtained or made...".
  8. ^ This comes from the second half of the un-numbered subsection referred to in point 4: "....or where or by whom any act or operation of any kind for the procuring or producing of abortion will be done or performed, or how or by what means abortion may be produced, whether sealed or unsealed...".
  9. ^ "Every paper, writing, advertisement, or representation that any article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing may, or can, be used or applied for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose...".
  10. ^ "Every description calculated to induce or incite a person to so use or apply any such article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing...".
  11. ^ As was explained in the discussion for 18 U.S.C. § 1461, this was ruled unconstitutional in United States v. Goldstein (1976).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Citizen's Guide To U.S. Federal Law On Obscenity". United States Department of Justice. May 26, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  2. ^ "18 USC 1461: Mailing obscene or crime-inciting matter". United States Code. Office of the Law Revision Counsel. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "U.S. Statutes at Large, Volume 17 (1871-1873), 42nd Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. pp. 344, 641, and 642. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  4. ^ a b c Schroeder, Pat (September 24, 1996). "Comstock Act Still On The Books". Iowa State University. Archived from the original on January 30, 2024. Retrieved June 30, 2024. Although its reach has been somewhat curtailed by the courts based upon first amendment principles, the Comstock Act remains on our books today. In 1971, Congress deleted the prohibition on birth control; but the prohibition on information about abortion remains, and the maximum fine was increased in 1994 from $5,000 to $250,000 for a first offense.
  5. ^ Brandon, Burnette (June 21, 2024) [January 1, 2009]. "Comstock Act of 1873". The Free Speech Center. Middle Tennessee State University. Archived from the original on June 28, 2024. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  6. ^ a b "United States v. Arthur, No. 21-50607 (5th Cir. 2022)". Justia Law. United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. October 12, 2022. Archived from the original on June 1, 2024. Retrieved June 1, 2024 – via Justia. A jury convicted Thomas Alan Arthur of...five counts of using an interactive computer service to transport obscene matters, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462(a)...
  7. ^ Pedroja, Cammy (June 22, 2021). "Texas Man Sentenced to 40 Years For Website of Stories About Child Abuse". Newsweek. Archived from the original on June 1, 2024. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  8. ^ Sanger-Katz, Margot; Miller, Claire Cain (March 26, 2024). "How Common Is Medication Abortion?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 29, 2024. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  9. ^ "Over half of U.S. abortions done with pills, survey finds". NBC News. February 24, 2022. Archived from the original on June 28, 2024. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  10. ^ a b Nowell, Cecilia (March 15, 2023). "Access to abortion pill in the balance as Texas judge hears mifepristone case". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on December 8, 2023. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  11. ^ a b c Kurtzleben, Danielle (April 8, 2024). "Conservative groups aim to use an 1873 law to virtually end abortions nationwide". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on June 28, 2024. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  12. ^ a b c "18 U.S. Code § 1461 - Mailing obscene or crime-inciting matter". LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  13. ^ a b "United States v. Reidel, 402 U.S. 351 (1971) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. May 3, 1971. Retrieved May 31, 2024 – via Justia.
  14. ^ a b "Ex parte Jackson, 96 U.S. 727 (1878) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. Retrieved May 31, 2024 – via Justia.
  15. ^ a b c "Still More Ado About Dirty Books (and Pictures): Stanley, Reidel, and Thirty-seven Photograph". Yale Law Journal. January 1, 1971.
  16. ^ a b Wertheimer, John (June 24, 2024) [January 1, 2009]. "Ex parte Jackson (1878) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Middle Tennessee State University. Archived from the original on June 24, 2024. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  17. ^ a b Raphael, Brian (November 27, 2023). "LibGuides: Federal Case Law: Authoritativeness of Cases". University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. Archived from the original on June 2, 2024. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  18. ^ "United States v. Goldstein, 431 F. Supp. 974 (D. Kan. 1976) Opinion". Justia Law. United States District Court for the District of Kansas. June 16, 1976. Retrieved June 2, 2024 – via Justia. A law expressly prohibiting editorial comment upon the merits of sexually discriminatory employment which directly or indirectly informs readers of employers who do unlawfully discriminate and the availability of jobs with such employers would obviously be unconstitutional. Likewise unconstitutional is a statute which prohibits comment, itself nonobscene, upon the merits of literary or artistic material deemed obscene by a community into which that opinion is mailed, simply because the opinion also gives information as to where such material may be obtained.
  19. ^ a b Hudson, David (May 5, 2024) [January 1, 2009]. "Bigelow v. Virginia (1975) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Middle Tennessee State University. Archived from the original on June 2, 2024. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  20. ^ King, Martin (April 2008). "Criminal Speech: Inducement and the First Amendment". FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. 77 (4): 23–32 – via Office of Justice Programs.
  21. ^ a b Brunnstrom, Ebba (March 10, 2023), Abortion and the Mails: Challenging the Applicability of the Comstock Act Laws Post-Dobbs (SSRN Scholarly Paper), Rochester, NY, SSRN 4384327, retrieved May 31, 2024{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  22. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 1462 - Importation or transportation of obscene matters". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  23. ^ Common Carrier Litigation: An Overview of Relevant Case Law
  24. ^ Per the definition used in section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.
  25. ^ Laslo, Matt. "The Fight Over Section 230—and the Internet as We Know It". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  26. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 1463 - Mailing indecent matter on wrappers or envelopes". LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  27. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 552 - Officers aiding importation of obscene or treasonous books and articles". LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved June 5, 2024.
  28. ^ "Justice Manual | 1964. Immoral Articles; Prohibition Of Importation". United States Department of Justice. February 19, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  29. ^ "19 U.S. Code § 1305 - Immoral articles; importation prohibited". LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  30. ^ "39 U.S. Code § 3001 - Nonmailable matter". LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  31. ^ "Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp., 463 U.S. 60 (1983) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. June 24, 1983. Retrieved May 31, 2024 – via Justia.
  32. ^ Hankin, Janet (January 1, 1985). "Casenotes: Constitutional Law — Commercial Speech — Federal Statute Prohibiting Mailing of Unsolicited Contraception Advertisements Violates First Amendment as Applied to Accurate Mailings That Contribute to Informed Decision Making. Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp., 103 S. Ct. 2875 (1983)". University of Baltimore Law Review. 14 (2). ISSN 0091-5440.
  33. ^ Parker, Richard (February 18, 2024) [January 1, 2009]. "Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products Corp. (1983) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved June 30, 2024.
  34. ^ a b c "United States v. 12 200-Ft. Reels of Film, 413 U.S. 123 (1973) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. June 21, 1973. Retrieved June 1, 2024 – via Justia.
  35. ^ a b "United States v. Thirty-Seven Photographs, 402 U.S. 363 (1971) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. May 3, 1971. Retrieved June 1, 2024 – via Justia.
  36. ^ a b c "Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S. 87 (1974) Opinion". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. June 24, 1974. Retrieved June 1, 2024 – via Justia.
  37. ^ "Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)". Justia Law. Supreme Court of the United States in the United States Reports. June 21, 1973. Retrieved June 20, 2024 – via Justia.
  38. ^ Metcalf, J. Todd (January 1, 1996). "Obscenity Prosecutions in Cyberspace: The Miller Test Cannot "Go Where No [Porn] Has Gone Before"". Washington University Law Review. 74 (2): 481–523. ISSN 2166-7993.
  39. ^ Hudson, David (May 5, 2024) [January 1, 2018]. "Miller Test". The Free Speech Center. Middle Tennessee State University. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  40. ^ 4.2 Criminal Intent
  41. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 3282 - Offenses not capital". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved June 12, 2024. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense, not capital, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after such offense shall have been committed.
  42. ^ Cohen, David S.; Donley, Greer; Rebouché, Rachel (January 22, 2024). "Opinion: It's too dangerous to allow this antiquated law to exist any longer". CNN. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  43. ^ a b Pauly, Madison. ""You would only need a week": How the next Republican president could ban abortion nationwide". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  44. ^ "DailyMed - MIFEPRISTONE tablet". dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  45. ^ Tribble, Sarah Jane (April 10, 2018). "How A Drugmaker Turned The Abortion Pill Into A Rare-Disease Profit Machine". KFF Health News. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  46. ^ "Mifepristone: Questions and Answers With Rollins Researchers | Rollins School of Public Health | Emory University | Atlanta GA". sph.emory.edu. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  47. ^ Dewey, Caitlin (November 5, 2023). "Abortion debate is affecting access to drug used after miscarriages". Washington Post.
  48. ^ MacNaughton, Honor; Nothnagle, Melissa; Early, Jessica (April 15, 2021). "Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Early Pregnancy Loss and Medication Abortion". American Family Physician. 103 (8): 473–480. ISSN 1532-0650.
  49. ^ Aiken, Abigail R.A.; Romanova, Evdokia P.; Morber, Julia R.; Gomperts, Rebecca (June 2022). "Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study". The Lancet Regional Health - Americas. 10: 100200. doi:10.1016/j.lana.2022.100200. ISSN 2667-193X. PMC 9223776. PMID 35755080.
  50. ^ Thompson, Alexandra; Singh, Dipti; Ghorashi, Adrienne R.; Donovan, Megan K.; Ma, Jenny; Rikelman, Julie (July 1, 2021). "The disproportionate burdens of the mifepristone REMS". Contraception. 104: 16–19. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2021.05.001.
  51. ^ Belluck, Pam (December 16, 2021). "F.D.A. Will Permanently Allow Abortion Pills by Mail". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  52. ^ "How the Comstock Act Threatens Abortion Rights". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. May 31, 2024. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  53. ^ Murphy, Sean; Perrone, Matthew (March 15, 2023). "Long-used abortion pill in U.S. is under threat in Texas lawsuit". Associated Press. Retrieved June 22, 2024 – via Los Angeles Times.
  54. ^ Matthew J. Kacsmaryk (April 7, 2023). "Memorandum Opinion and Order in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration" (PDF).
  55. ^ State of Washington v. United States Food and Drug Administration, No. 1:2023cv03026 – Document 80 (E.D. Wash. 2023), April 7, 2023, Order Granting in part Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction
  56. ^ Adler, Jonathan (April 8, 2023). "Two (Wrong) Mifepristone Court Rulings in One Day". Reason. The Volokh Conspiracy. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  57. ^ "Abortion pill ruling cited flawed science - The Washington Post". archive.ph. April 13, 2023. Archived from the original on April 13, 2023. Retrieved June 14, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  58. ^ "The Texas judge who could take down the abortion pill". Washington Post. February 25, 2023. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  59. ^ "More than 200 drugmakers led by Pfizer blast Texas judge's abortion pill decision". NBC News. April 10, 2023. Retrieved June 23, 2024.
  60. ^ Adler, Johnathan (April 13, 2023). "The Good and Bad of the Fifth Circuit's Abortion Pill Ruling". Reason. The Volokh Conspiracy. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  61. ^ Segura, Melissa (March 25, 2024). "The next Clarence Thomas? Abortion pill case spotlights rightwing judge and his wife's shadowy connections". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  62. ^ Hippocratic Medicine v. Food and Drug Administration, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Ho dissent, pp. 64-93 https://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/23/23-10362-CV1.pdf
  63. ^ Justice Alito's question can heard at minute 19:15 of the oral argument at https://www.oyez.org/cases/2023/23-235
  64. ^ Sneed, Tierney (March 29, 2024). "Supreme Court abortion case brings 19th century chastity law to the forefront | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2024.
  65. ^ Supreme Court of the United States Opinion for United States Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (2024)
  66. ^ Howe, Amy (June 13, 2024). "Supreme Court preserves access to abortion pill". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  67. ^ writer, Natalia Gurevich | Examiner staff (June 13, 2024). "SCOTUS abortion ruling 'reprieve,' not a 'win'". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved June 23, 2024.
  68. ^ Valle, Gaby Del (June 13, 2024). "SCOTUS upholds abortion pill access — for now". The Verge. Retrieved June 23, 2024.
  69. ^ Lucas, Roy (2003). "Forgotten Supreme Court abortion cases: Drs. Hawker and Hurwitz in the deck and defrocked". Pepperdine Law Review. 30 (4): 641–670. ISSN 0092-430X. PMID 15237509. Jackson upheld a law excluding from the mail any circulars or letters concerning 'lotteries' which were then 'widely considered 'to have a demoralizing influence upon the people.' The Court's unanimous decision relied upon the example of the act of March 3, 1873 [Comstock Act], in which Congress declared 'that no obscene, lewd, or lascivious book, pamphlet, picture, paper, print, or other publication of an indecent character, or any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception or procuring of abortion . . .' could be carried in the mails.
  70. ^ a b "Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957) Opinion". Justia Law. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  71. ^ "Smith v. United States, 431 U.S. 291 (1977)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024. The fact that the mailings in this case were wholly intrastate is immaterial for a prosecution under § 1461. That statute was one enacted under Congress' postal power, granted in Art. I, § 8, cl. 7, of the Constitution, and the Postal Power Clause does not distinguish between interstate and intrastate matters.
  72. ^ a b "Roth v. United States (1957) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  73. ^ a b "Smith v. United States (1977) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  74. ^ "United States v. Orito, 413 U.S. 139 (1973) Opinion". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  75. ^ "United States v. Orito (1973) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  76. ^ a b "United States v. Twelve 200-Ft. Reels of Film (1973) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  77. ^ a b Millhiser, Ian (January 22, 2023). "The coming legal showdown over abortion pills". Vox. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  78. ^ a b "Obscenity: Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S. 87 (1974), Jenkins v. Georgia, 418 U.S. 153 (1974)". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 65 (4): 499. January 1, 1975.
  79. ^ "Smith v. United States, 431 U.S. 291 (1977) Opinion". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  80. ^ "Eloquent voice for the oppressed: Harry A. Blackmun 1908-1999". Harvard Law School News. June 24, 1999. Retrieved June 20, 2024.
  81. ^ One, Inc. v. Olesen, 355 U.S. 371 (1958) Opinion.
  82. ^ Geidner, Chris (June 19, 2019). "The Court Cases That Changed L.G.B.T.Q. Rights". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 18, 2024.
  83. ^ "MANual Enterprises, Inc. v. Day, 370 U.S. 478 (1962)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 5, 2024.
  84. ^ Johnson, David K. (2021). Buying gay: how physique entrepreneurs sparked a movement. Columbia studies in the history of U.S. capitalism. New York, New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-18911-8.
  85. ^ "Office of Legal Counsel | Application of the Comstock Act to the Mailing of Prescription Drugs That Can Be Used for Abortions | United States Department of Justice". www.justice.gov. January 3, 2023. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  86. ^ "RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) vs. Dealers in Obscene Matter: The First Amendment Battle | Office of Justice Programs". www.ojp.gov. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  87. ^ "Alexander v. United States, 509 U.S. 544 (1993)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 20, 2024.
  88. ^ "Alexander v. United States (1993) Analysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  89. ^ "The Shadow Code: Statutory Notes in the United States Code | William A. Wise Law Library". lawlibrary.colorado.edu. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  90. ^ Allevato, Peter (2023). "Does Federal Law Ban Mailing Abortion Drugs? A Textual Analysis of 18 U.S.C. § 1461". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4529788. ISSN 1556-5068.
  91. ^ a b "Biographical Note". The Margaret Sanger Papers. Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. 1995. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved October 21, 2006.
  92. ^ Staff Reporters (September 11, 1915). "Disorder in Court as Sanger is Fined: Justices Order Room Cleared When Socialists and Anarchists Hoot Verdict" (PDF). The New York Times: 7.
  93. ^ "United States v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries (1936) Analysis | Embryo Project Encyclopedia". embryo.asu.edu. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  94. ^ Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).
  95. ^ Bailey, Martha (2010). ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing". American Economic Review. 100 (1): 98–129. doi:10.1257/aer.100.1.98. ISSN 0002-8282. PMID 29508974.
  96. ^ Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972).
  97. ^ Cohen, David S.; Donley, Greer; Rebouche, Rachel (March 8, 2024). "The Biggest Thing Missing From Joe Biden's State of the Union". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  98. ^ "Opinion | Justices Thomas and Alito want to use a 'zombie law' to restrict abortion". MSNBC.com. March 27, 2024. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  99. ^ Understanding Federal Legislation: A Section-by-Section Guide to Key Legal Considerations
  100. ^ Allevato, Peter (2023). "Does Federal Law Ban Mailing Abortion Drugs? A Textual Analysis of 18 U.S.C. § 1461". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.4529788. ISSN 1556-5068.
  101. ^ "United States v. Isaacs, No. 13-50036 (9th Cir. 2014)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024. Isaacs was convicted on...one count of transportation of obscene matter, 18 U.S.C. § 1462(a), and two counts of mailing obscene matter, 18 U.S.C. § 1461. We affirm.
  102. ^ "United States v. McCoy, No. 13-14350 (11th Cir. 2015)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024. Following a two-day bench trial, McCoy was convicted of using an interactive computer service for the transportation of obscene material in interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462.
  103. ^ "United States v. Sessoms, No. 16-7238 (4th Cir. 2016)". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024. Sessoms seeks to appeal his 235-month sentence imposed following his convictions for transmission of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(1) (2012), and transportation of obscene matters over the Internet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462 (2012).
  104. ^ "United States v. Arthur, No. 21-50607 (5th Cir. 2022)". Justia Law. United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. October 12, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2024 – via Justia. A jury convicted Thomas Alan Arthur of...five counts of using an interactive computer service to transport obscene matters, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462(a)...
  105. ^ Pedroja, Cammy (June 22, 2021). "Texas Man Sentenced to 40 Years For Website of Stories About Child Abuse". Newsweek. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  106. ^ CNA. "Interview with Roger Young, a retired FBI Agent who specialized in child pornography and obscenity cases". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  107. ^ "New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747 (1982) Opinion". Justia Law. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  108. ^ "New York v. Ferber (1982) Analaysis". The Free Speech Center. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  109. ^ Reagan, Ronald (November 10, 1987). "Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement". The American Presidency Project. University of California Santa Barbara. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  110. ^ McGRAW, CAROL (September 16, 1985). "Child Smut Business Going Underground : Grows Uglier as Customers Trade Children, Not Just Pictures, Police Say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  111. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (April 17, 2023). "This 150-Year-Old Anti-Vice Law Is Now At The Center Of The Push To Ban Abortion". HuffPost. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  112. ^ Donegan, Moira (April 8, 2024). "Republicans want to use an 1873 law to ban abortion. Congress must repeal it". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  113. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (June 21, 2024). "Opinion | Trump's Allies Say They'll Enforce the Comstock Act. Believe Them". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  114. ^ Kanu, Hassan Ali (April 9, 2024). "The Truth About the Comstock Act". The American Prospect. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  115. ^ Kurtzleben, Danielle (April 10, 2024). ""Why anti-abortion advocates are reviving a 19th century sexual purity law"". National Public Radio. Retrieved June 21, 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  116. ^ Board, Editorial (April 2, 2024). "Opinion | Repeal the Comstock Act before the GOP tries using it to ban abortion". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  117. ^ Lerer, Lisa; Dias, Elizabeth (February 17, 2024). "Trump Allies Plan New Sweeping Abortion Restrictions". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  118. ^ Whelan, Ed (February 2, 2023). "OLC's Dubious Stay-Out-of-Jail Card for Abortion-Drug Shippers". National Review. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  119. ^ "Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise: Project 2025 Presidential Transition Project, pp. 458-459" (PDF). Heritage Foundation. Retrieved June 13, 2024.
  120. ^ Sneed, Tierney (February 1, 2023). "Republican AGs warn pharmacies against mailing abortion pills within their states | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  121. ^ Coombs, Bertha; Kimball, Spencer (January 5, 2023). "CVS and Walgreens plan to sell abortion pill mifepristone at pharmacies after FDA rule change". CNBC. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  122. ^ Cohen, Rachel M. (March 15, 2023). "The sole US supplier of a major abortion pill said it would not distribute the drug in 31 states". Vox. Retrieved June 23, 2024.
  123. ^ Smith, Tina (April 2, 2024). "Opinion | I Hope to Repeal an Arcane Law That Could Be Misused to Ban Abortion Nationwide". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  124. ^ Alanna, Vagianos (June 20, 2024). "Democrats Are Trying To Repeal An Archaic Law That Could Create A National Abortion Ban". HuffPost. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  125. ^ Becker, Amanda (June 20, 2024). "Democrats, worried about future of medication abortion, push to repeal Comstock Act". The 19th. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  126. ^ "What is the Comstock Act? The 151-year-old law mentioned in SCOTUS abortion pill case". ABC News. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  127. ^ Rosenzweig-Ziff, Dan (March 19, 2024). "U.S. abortions reach recent high, with record number done via medication". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  128. ^ Boos, Elise W.; Horta, Manuel; Thompson, Ivana; Dusetzina, Stacie B.; Leech, Ashley A. (August 22, 2023). "Trends in the Use of Mifepristone for Medical Management of Early Pregnancy Loss From 2016 to 2020". JAMA. 330 (8): 766–768. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.13628. ISSN 0098-7484. PMC 10445186. PMID 37477929.
  129. ^ Cohen, Rachel M. (December 27, 2023). "Access to abortion pills has grown since Dobbs". Vox. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  130. ^ Felix, Mabel; Sobel, Laurie; Published, Alina Salganicoff (April 15, 2024). "The Comstock Act: Implications for Abortion Care Nationwide". KFF. Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  131. ^ "Map: Where medication abortion is and isn't legal". NBC News. March 1, 2024. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  132. ^ Langer, Ana (December 13, 2021). "The negative health implications of restricting abortion access". Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  133. ^ Picchi, Aimee (May 4, 2022). "How much do abortions cost? For many, it's already too much". CBS News. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  134. ^ Jennett, Shelby. "Abortion, Minors, and the Ethics of Parental Consent". Santa Clara University. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  135. ^ Krishnakumar, Tierney Sneed,Priya (October 30, 2021). "Overturning Roe could mean women seeking abortions have to travel hundreds of miles | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved June 26, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  136. ^ "KFF Examines the Hyde Amendment and its Impact in States Without Abortion Bans". KFF. March 14, 2024. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  137. ^ Cheung, Kylie (October 4, 2019). "How to Fight Anti-Abortion Hyde Amendment, Which Turned 43 this Week". The Mary Sue. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  138. ^ Note that the following four items are modern-day terminology which are equivalent (or almost equivalent) to what the laws actually say. "Obscene" may be also called in the law texts as "vulgar", "indecent", "filthy" (Ruppenthal p. 48). "contraceptive" is an article for "preventing conception" (Ruppenthal, most all pages). "Abortifacient" may be "medicine or means for producing or facilitating miscarriage or abortion" (Ruppenthal p. 52). "Sex-toy" might be "instrument or article of indecent or immoral use" (Ruppenthal pp. 35, 49, etc.) or "instrument or article for self-pollution" (Ruppenthal p. 35)
  139. ^ Smith, Tina (April 2, 2024). "I Hope to Repeal an Arcane Law That Could Be Misused to Ban Abortion Nationwide". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 2, 2024.
  140. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Dennett, Mary Ware (1926). Birth Control Laws. New York: The Grafton Press.
  141. ^ Ruppenthal, J.C. (1919). "Criminal Statutes on Birth Control". J. Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology. 10 (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 22, 2017.
  142. ^ Abramson, Paul R. (2002). With Pleasure: Thoughts on the Nature of Human Sexuality. Oxford University Press US. p. 180. ISBN 0-19-514609-3.
  143. ^ "Mrs. Bird, female physician To the Ladies – Madame Costello". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on May 20, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  144. ^ Buchanan, Paul D. The American Women's Rights Movement. p. 75.
  145. ^ "Birth Control Laws: Shall We Keep Them, Change Them or Abolish Them". Journal of the American Medical Association. 107 (22): 1835. November 28, 1936. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770480067035. ISSN 0002-9955.
  146. ^ S. Journal 42-3 - Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, being the Third Session of the Forty-Second Congress; December 2, 1872
  147. ^ a b c Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Random House, 2002.
  148. ^ Starr, Paul (2004). The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications. New York City: Basic Books. pp. 243–244. ISBN 978-0-465-08194-3.
  149. ^ "Petition for Stricter Obscenity Laws, 1887 | Records of Rights". recordsofrights.org. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  150. ^ "Kate Chopin – Anthony Comstock". people.loyno.edu. Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  151. ^ a b c Beisel, Nicola Kay (1997). Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Victorian America. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02779-1. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  152. ^ Engleman, Peter C., History of the birth control movement in America. pp. 163–164. Prager 2011
  153. ^ "Letter against the Comstock Act | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Archived from the original on December 25, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  154. ^ a b "Four. Anthony Comstock versus Free Love: Religion, Marriage, and the Victorian Family", Imperiled Innocents, Princeton University Press, July 27, 1998, pp. 76–103, doi:10.1515/9781400822089.76, ISBN 978-1-4008-2208-9, retrieved November 19, 2023
  155. ^ Brooks, Carol Flora (1966). "The Early History of the Anti-Contraceptive Laws in Massachusetts and Connecticut". American Quarterly. 18 (1): 3–23. doi:10.2307/2711107. ISSN 0003-0678. JSTOR 2711107.
  156. ^ "Woodhull and Claflin's weekly | Digital Collections". litsdigital.hamilton.edu. Retrieved November 21, 2023.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dennett, Mary Ware Birth Control Laws: Shall we keep them, change them, or abolish them New York, Grafton Press, 1926. Full text [1]
  • Ruppenthal, J. C. Criminal Statutes on Birth Control in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 10, issue 1, article 5, 1919. [2]
  • United States, Congress, "An Act to Revise, Consolidate, and Amend the Statutes Relating to the Post-Office Department." An Act to Revise, Consolidate, and Amend the Statutes Relating to the Post-Office Department, pp. 302.
  • Beisel, Nicola. Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Victorian America. Princeton U. Press, 1997.
  • Boyer, Paul S. Purity in Print: Censorship from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age. (1968) Revised ed. 2002.
  • Friedman, Andrea. Prurient Interests: Gender, Democracy, and Obscenity in New York City, 1909–1945. Columbia U. Pr., 2000.
  • Gurstein, Rochelle. The Repeal of Reticence: A History of America's Cultural and Legal Struggles over Free Speech, Obscenity, Sexual Liberation, and Modern Art. Hill & Wang, 1996.
  • Hilliard, Robert L. and Keith, Michael C. Dirty Discourse: Sex and Indecency in American Radio. Iowa State U. Press, 2003.
  • Kobylka, Joseph F. The Politics of Obscenity: Group Litigation in a Time of Legal Change. Greenwood, 1991.
  • Wheeler, Leigh Ann. Against Obscenity: Reform and the Politics of Womanhood in America, 1873–1935. Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2004.
  • Werbel, Amy. Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock.Columbia University Press, 2018.
  • "Statement of Professor Frederick Schauer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 29, 2008., Hearing on Obscenity Prosecution and the Constitution, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate March 16, 2005 for legal history.