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His kin’s work led to creation of the Pill, and he fears Justice Thomas’s next move

Justice Clarence Thomas sits during a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021.Erin Schaff/Associated Press

When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tossed off references to Griswold v. Connecticut as one of the precedent-setting cases he believes should be reviewed and possibly reversed by the court’s conservative majority, my stomach clenched (“Thomas finds the spotlight — wanted or not,” Page A1, June 26).

There is no world in which couples who enjoy a healthy, active sex life should be forced to take a pregnancy to term because they cannot acquire safe methods of contraception. None.

My interest in Griswold is personal because my grandfather, Dr. John Rock, a Brookline resident for many years and a New England resident his entire 94 years, was one of the people, along with Dr. Gregory Pincus, whose work in addressing infertility led to the creation of the Pill in 1958 and its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1961. Grampa never made a dime off his service to humanity because he felt it was unethical to make money off of a natural biological function such as reproduction.


I am not sure what value Justice Thomas places on marching America back to the 1950s, but it sure is a terrifying prospect. The list of reasons that any woman might choose to terminate a pregnancy is too long to enumerate here, and the court has no place shaping the lives of countless women who might not be able, or willing, to carry a pregnancy to term.

I hope the Globe will continue to expose Thomas’s apparent determination to keep women from living their best and most satisfying lives.

Paul T. Levinson

Surprise, Ariz.