"Momma&Apos;S Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold V. Connecticut Shaped U.S. Childbearing

49 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2009 Last revised: 4 Jul 2021

See all articles by Martha J. Bailey

Martha J. Bailey

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2009

Abstract

The 1960s ushered in a new era in U.S. demographic history characterized by significantly lower fertility rates and smaller family sizes. What catalyzed these changes remains a matter of considerable debate. This paper exploits idiosyncratic variation in the language of "Comstock" statutes, enacted in the late 1800s, to quantify the role of the birth control pill in this transition. Almost fifty years after the contraceptive pill appeared on the U.S. market, this analysis provides new evidence that it accelerated the post-1960 decline in marital fertility.

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Martha Jane, "Momma&Apos;S Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold V. Connecticut Shaped U.S. Childbearing (January 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14675, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1332614

Martha Jane Bailey (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

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