End Legally Approved Attacks on Birth Control

Target: Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Goal: Eliminate attacks on free speech and other freedoms made possible by Comstock Act.

The Supreme Court’s decision on potential restrictions of the medication abortion pill mifepristone could be another blow for reproductive rights. Two Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, raised eyebrows when they summoned a 150-year-old law in seeming defense of proposed restrictions. This law, the Comstock Act, is notorious for being one of the biggest assaults on free speech still enshrined in America’s legal code.

The law, promoted by a man maligned for his attempts to force his rigid moral and religious views on others, banned the mailing of “obscene,” “immoral,” or “indecent” materials. Like many laws, the vagueness of the terminology has led to a whole host of actions being targeted by the law throughout its history, from the mailing of women’s rights newspapers to the mailing of contraception. It is the latter that has apparently drawn the interest of at least two justices, as they are questioning whether the common procedure of moving mifepristone through the mail would violate the Comstock Act.

Advocates have long argued for a repeal of this hateful law enacted during one of the worst eras for civil rights in American history. Sign the petition below to demand the Comstock Act and its abusive tactics be wiped away from the nation’s legal system once and for all.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Schumer,

In the wake of America’s reckoning with slavery, Anthony Comstock and Congress launched one of the most enduring attacks on this nation’s cherished values of free speech and personal liberty. Throughout its 150-year history, the Comstock Act has been wielded as a weapon against political dissenters and everyday citizens of all stripes, especially women. Imposing a group of wealthy men’s concepts of “immorality” and “indecency” on America’s citizenry was the most “obscene” result of this backwards law.

Why is it still on the books? Plenty of laws have since been enacted to criminalize child pornography and other truly “indecent” acts. As has been demonstrated in the mifepristone case, the Comstock Act will only be used in the future to once again exert the will and “morality” of a select few. Repeal this dangerous legal weapon and relegate it to the dustbin of shameful history where it belongs.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: New York Society for the Suppression of Vice


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199 Signatures

  • Phyllis Mazzarisi
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