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Griswold v. Connecticut and the Right to Privacy Lesson Plan
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Griswold v. Connecticut and the Right to Privacy Lesson Plan


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Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Assessment, Handout, Lesson Plan, Presentation, Worksheet

About This Lesson

This lesson explores the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1965 decision in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut. This case challenged a Connecticut law, common in many other states at the time, which criminalized the use and dissemination of contraceptives.  The Supreme Court’s decision established the constitutional right of married couples to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.  More significantly, the Supreme Court’s precedent in Griswold  established a “right to privacy” protected by the Constitution, which, in this case, applied to the use of contraceptives, but which over decades became the foundation for a host of key decisions protecting reproductive and sexual freedom.  The “right to privacy” established in the Griswold precedent became the basis for the Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights in Roe v. Wade and the decision protecting intimate same-sex relationships in Lawrence v. Texas, and its legacy forms part of constitutional basis for the right to same-sex marriage established in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The “right to privacy” established in Griswold represents an example of an “unenumerated right”--meaning a right that is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, but which was recognized by the Supreme Court to be protected by the 9th and 14th Amendments. The right to abortion established in Roe was similarly an unenumerated right; and the recent Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the Roe precedent, specifically targeted the unenumerated status of the right to abortion in its reasoning for overturning it.  Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion in Dobbs:

The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.

Indeed, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that, in light of the Dobbs decision, the Court should re-examine other decisions based on the unenumerated right to privacy, including Griswold.

In this context, it is important for students to understand the Griswold decision, the larger context of the unenumerated “right to privacy,” and the implications if it is overturned.


Students will…

  • Understand the 9th Amendment and the concept of enumerated and unenumerated constitutional rights
  • Understand and analyze the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, using close text analysis of case excerpts
  • Examine and evaluate arguments in favor and against the establishment of a “right to privacy” as an unenumerated right

Note:  This lesson is designed for 2 class days.



Griswold v. Connecticut and the Right to Privacy Lesson Plan.docx

Lesson Plan
August 16, 2022
11.05 KB

Copy of Griswold v. Connecticut Case Background.docx

Handout, Worksheet
August 16, 2022
299.95 KB

The 9th Amendment, Enumerated, and Unenumerated Rights.pptx

August 16, 2022
425.8 KB


Handout, Worksheet
August 16, 2022
81.19 KB

Griswold Majority Opinion Response Questions.docx

August 16, 2022
7.91 KB

From Griswold to Lawrence.pptx

August 16, 2022
683.04 KB

2 Perspectives on Constitutional Interpretation in Griswold.docx

August 16, 2022
301.08 KB

Newspaper Article Assessment.docx

August 16, 2022
7.37 KB


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