P.L. Parker

P.L. Parker

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Linda LaRoque and the Comstock Law of 1873

I want to welcome fellow author Linda LaRoque to my blog. Linda’s here to talk about her new release and a little bit of historical information that I’m sure you’ll find interesting.

Condoms and the Comstock Law of 1873

The American Social Hygiene Association fought hard to prohibit condom use in the early part of this century. Social hygienists believed that anyone who risked getting "venereal" diseases should suffer the consequences, including American doughboys — U.S. soldiers who fought in World War I. The American Expeditionary Forces, as our army was called, were denied the use of condoms, so it is not surprising that by the end of the war our troops had very high rates of sexually transmitted infections. Like most people throughout history, our "boys" were just unable to "just say 'no'" (Brandt, 1985). Law of 1873

One of the challenges that Margaret Sanger faced as she fought for women's right to use birth control was the double standard regarding condom use. Doctors were allowed to "prescribe" condoms to protect men from syphilis and gonorrhea when they had premarital or extramarital sexual intercourse. The men could not, however, get condoms to protect their wives from unintended pregnancy (Brandt, 1985; Valdiserri, 1988).

Sanger had to find a way around the Comstock laws, which prohibited the transport of birth control devices or information through the mail. Her solution, clever — as well as illegal — also involved the diaphragm (Chesler, 1992).

A History of Birth Control Methods

Planned Parenthood


Comstock laws

The Comstock Act, (ch. 258 17 Stat. 598 enacted March 3, 1873) is a United States federal law which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information. In addition to banning contraceptives, this act also banned the distribution of information on abortion for educational purposes. Twenty-four states passed similar prohibitions on materials distributed within the states.[1] Collectively, these state and federal restrictions are known as the Comstock laws.

The Comstock Laws were variously case tested, but courts struggled to establish definitive thinking about the laws. One of the most notable applications of Comstock was Roth v. United States, in which the Supreme Court affirmed Comstock, but set limits on what could be considered obscene. This landmark case represented one of the first notable revisions since the Hicklin test, and the evolving nature of the laws on which Comstock was conceived.

The sale and distribution of obscene materials had been prohibited prior to Comstock in most American states since the early 1800s, and by federal law since 1873. Federal anti-obscenity laws are currently still in effect and enforced,[2] though the definition of obscenity has changed much (now expressed in the Miller Test) and extensive debates on what is "obscene" continues.

A Marshall of Her Own – Blurb

Despite rumors of "strange doings"at a cabin in Fredericksburg, investigative reporter Dessa Wade books the cottage from which lawyer Charity Dawson disappeared in 2008. Dessa is intent on solving the mystery. Instead, caught in the swirling mist that surrounds the cabin, she finds herself in 1890, in a shootout between the Faraday Gang and a US Marshal.ite rumors of “strange doings” at a cabin in Fredericksburg, investigative reporter Dessa Wade books the cottage from which lawyer Charity Dawson disappeared in 2008. Dessa is intent on solving the mystery. Instead, caught in the swirling mist that

Marshal Cole Jeffers doesn’t believe Miss Wade is a time traveler. He admits she’s innocent of being an outlaw but thinks she knows more about the gang than she’s telling. When she’s kidnapped by Zeke Faraday, Cole is determined to rescue her. He’s longed for a woman of his own, and Dessa Wade just might be the one—if she’ll commit to the past.

Leave a comment to win an e-copy of A Law of Her Own

About Linda:

Linda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

Linda LaRoque
Writing Romance with a Twist in Time

Linda’s blog tour continues Nov. 30 – Nikki Barrett http://www.stormgoddessbookreviews.blogspot.com/ - The Hoosier.

Thanks Linda for stopping by. Loved the “condom” history! Don't forget to leave a comment!


P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning Linda and welcome to my blog. Looking forward to visiting with you.

Linda LaRoque said...

Good morning and thank you for having me. I hope we get lots of readers today!

Sarah L said...

Good Morning,

Very interesting article on condoms. I enjoy articles like this. It amazes me how the attitude has evolved over the years. Great job!


P.L. Parker said...

I hope so too Linda. Thanks for stopping by Sarah - like you, I love these little historical snippets.

Linda LaRoque said...

So true, Sarah. What amazes me is how they thought nothing of a woman having a child every year and ruining her health but a man needed protection from VD.

Mary Ricksen said...

Love the sound of the time travel! My favorite! I gotta order it for my Nook! Interesting to see how stupid people can be about common sense things, like condoms!

Na said...

Thank you for an interesting topic, Linda. Condoms certaintly had a history and have come a long way from the development and through the legal hoops it seems. How we think now and felt about things is very different, and I think for the better.


Susan JP Owens said...

Growing up in my home, sex was not discussed let alone the taboo subject of contraception.
Wow, we've come a long way baby.

Linda LaRoque said...

It was a fun story to write, Mary. Yes, we've relaxed our attitudes a lot. Thank goodness!

Change is always hard to come by, isn't it, Na? Some things we take for granted today.

Linda LaRoque said...

Lol, Susan, ask me what my grandmother told my mother about birthday control some time. Talk about a weird belief!

P.L. Parker said...

I would love to hear what she said Linda!

booklover0226 said...

Interesting and entertaining post. I learn something new every day!

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Linda LaRoque said...

PL, she said to keep from getting pregnant, jump off the back porch after having sex. Of course, my mother didn't think to ask her how that was supposed to work. All we could think of was if the porch was pretty high up, the jump was supposed to jolt the sperm out of you.

Linda LaRoque said...

Glad you are, Tracey. History is fun.

P.L. Parker said...

LOL Linda - what a great story. How many children did your grandmother have! Wondering if the jump worked.

Linda LaRoque said...

She had 1 step-son whom we always thought was her natural child, 6 natural children, 2 who died in childhood, but she was in her 30s when she married. So, no, I don't think it worked.

P.L. Parker said...

Thanks Linda for being my guest today and sharing a great bit of history. Really enjoyed having you here.

marybelle said...

Most interesting. I had never given it much thought before.


Kathryn Merkel said...

Something tells me that the men in charge were largely subsribing to the belief that every sperm was sacred. Typical of men to be more concerned about themselves then the women in their lives.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

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