Plaintiffs in no. 60 are two sets of husband and wife.
One wife is pathetically ill, having delivered a stillborn fetus. If
she becomes pregnant again, her life will be gravely jeopardized. This
couple have been unable to get medical advice concerning the "best and
safest" means to avoid pregnancy from their physician, plaintiff in no.
61, because if he gave it he would commit a crime. The use of
contraceptive devices would also constitute a crime. And it is alleged
— and admitted by the state — that the state's attorney intends to
enforce the law by prosecuting offenses under the laws.
A public clinic dispensing birth-control information has indeed been
closed by the state. Doctors and a nurse working in that clinic were
arrested by the police and charged with advising married women on the
use of contraceptives.
... We should say with Kant that "It is absurd to expect to be enlightened by reason, and at the same time to prescribe to her what side of the question she must adopt." (4) Leveling the discourse of medical men to the morality of a particular community is a deadening influence. Mill spoke of the pressures of intolerant groups that produce "either mere conformers to commonplace, or time-servers for truth." (5) We witness in this case a sealing of the lips of a doctor because he desires to observe the law, obnoxious as the law may be.