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Where a speaker desires to convey truthful information relevant to important social issues such as family planning and the prevention of venereal disease, the court had previously found the First Amendment interest served by such speech paramount.
Appellee, Youngs Drug Products Corp., manufacturer, seller and distributor of contraceptives, attempted to send unsolicited mailings to individuals concerning contraception and contraceptives, including informational pamphlets promoting its products but also discussing venereal disease and family planning. Appellant, United States Postal Services, prevented appellee from sending the mailings, arguing that under 39 U.S.C.S. § 3001(e)(2), sending information concerning contraceptives through the mails was illegal. Appellee sued appellant for a declaratory judgment, on the basis that such a prohibition of a mailing was unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that 39 U.S.C.S. § 3001(e)(2), which forbade appellee from sending unsolicited mailings to individuals' homes concerning contraceptives, was unconstitutional as an abridgment of Free Speech. Appellant challenged the judgment.
As applied to appellee’s proposed mailings, was 39 U.S.C.S. § 3001(e)(2) unconstitutional?
The Court held that advertising for contraceptives not only implicated "substantial individual and societal interests" in the free flow of commercial information, but also related to activity that was protected from unwarranted governmental interference. Thus, appellee's proposed commercial speech was clearly protected by the First Amendment. The Court concluded that the law was unconstitutional under U.S. Const. amend. I, as a violation of Free Speech, since it unreasonably suppressed information concerning health issues, and there was no justification for preventing appellee from sending such information to others.