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Maher v. Roe

United States Supreme Court
432 U.S. 464 (1977)


Facts

The Connecticut Welfare Department passed a regulation limiting state Medicaid benefits for first trimester abortions to those that are “medically necessary,” a term defined to include psychiatric necessity. Susan Roe (plaintiff), an indigent woman who was denied funding for an abortion under the regulation, brought suit in federal district court against Maher (defendant), Commissioner of the Connecticut Welfare Department, on the grounds that the regulation violated her fundamental right to an abortion under the Constitution and her right to equal protection of the laws. The district court held that the Equal Protection Clause required the inclusion of non-therapeutic abortions in the payment of a state’s Medicaid benefits, and Maher appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)

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Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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