Anthony Comstock (1844–1915)
Anthony Comstock was a US postal inspector and politician who advocated for the suppression of obscenity and vice throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Comstock considered any sexually explicit material like pornography and literature related to birth control and abortion as obscene. In 1873, Comstock lobbied US Congress to pass an anti-obscenity law titled An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use, also called the Comstock Act. The law penalized individuals for sending material classified as obscene through the US postal services, which Comstock, as a special agent of the United States Post Office, could enforce. Comstock’s role in passing and enforcing the Comstock Act influenced the social and political restriction of birth control, hindering women’s access to contraceptives.