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May 22, 1937


Author Affiliations

Chicago. Director, Bureau of Legal Medicine and Legislation.

JAMA. 1937;108(21):1820. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780210059024

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To the Editor:—  The decision of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, December 1936, in United States v. One Package, 86 F. (2d) 737, added nothing to decisions previously rendered by various courts further than the rule that contraceptive devices may lawfully be imported into the United States for the preservation of health. One of the three judges accepted the judgment of his associates with respect to the matter but expressed grave doubts as to its correctness. Under such circumstances, the weight that other courts will give this decision is purely speculative. Certainly it is not "a bill of rights for the medical profession," nor does it authorize physicians to give contraceptive advice "in public as well as private practice," as the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control, Inc., proclaimed. As the committee's propaganda seemed likely to bring physicians unwittingly into conflict with federal and state laws, The Journal undertook to inform them correctly concerning the situation. Nothing in the letter from the committee's legal advisers seems to sustain the broad claims made by the committee in the publicity material that it issued to the medical profession, or to do away with the necessity for a physician who desires to recommend contraception or to supply materials and devices for that purpose informing himself concerning the laws relating to contraception in the community in which he is

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