From an "Associates Memo" of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: The Bork hearings have focused public attention on an unlikely issue: the legal status of birth control. The debate has taken an oddly antiquarian turn, however, with senators dwelling interminably on the Supreme Court's decision, back in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, to strike down a state law banning contraceptives. . . . No one seems to care that over the past 20 years the two sides have completely reversed themselves. Connecticut and other state governments, mindful of AIDS and teen pregnancy, have, if anything, become avid promoters of contraceptive use. . . .

At the same time, . . . the courts were discovering to their horror that birth control has its costs as well -- that all forms of contraception have their side effects and failures. Under new concepts of product liability, they have been awarding huge judgments to compensate victims of injury or "wrongful birth," even when there was no negligence in the conventional sense. . . .

Manufacturers . . . have withdrawn all but one minor brand of IUD from the market, and almost entirely suspended U.S. research on new contraceptive products. . . .Condoms are not foolproof either, and if even one in 10 million sold leads to a wrongful-death AIDS verdict, their price will rise out of the reach of many users, with incalculable consequences for public health. . . .

Widespread access to contraception, like all social advances, has an economic dimension. . . . {S}enators who want to keep birth control legal . . . have very little to fear these days from state legislatures, but a great deal to fear from courts that write their preferences into law. . . .