Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maher v. Roe case brief

Maher v. Roe case brief summary
432 U.S. 464 (1977)

Appellant Commissioner of Social Services of Connecticut challenged the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, which, on remand from the court of appeals, invalidated the regulation that imposed conditions on payment for abortion services by appellee indigent women under the Medical Assistance Program, Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 1396 et seq.

Appellee indigent women challenged a regulation of appellant Commissioner of Social Services of Connecticut, which imposed conditions on its payment for abortion services. On remand from the court of appeals, the district court invalidated the regulation.


  • The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the district court's judgment as it erred in holding the regulation violated the equal protection clause of U.S. Constitutional Amendment XIV. 
  • There was no suspect class involved as an indigent woman desiring an abortion did not come within the limited category of recognized disadvantaged classes, and the fact that the impact of the regulation fell upon those who could not pay did not lead to a different conclusion. 
  • The regulation placed no obstacle to obtaining an abortion and did not create the indigency that made it difficult or impossible to obtain an abortion. 
  • The funding scheme did not involve a suspect class or the impingement of a fundamental right. 
  • The regulation rationally furthered the state's legitimate interest in encouraging normal childbirth and it was not unreasonable to insist upon a prior showing of medical necessity to insure that state money was being spent only for authorized purposes.
The Court reversed the judgment of the district court that invalidated the regulation of appellant Commissioner of Social Services of Connecticut. The regulation involved no suspect class, did not create the indigency that made obtaining an abortion difficult or impossible, and rationally furthered appellee's interest in encouraging normal childbirth.

Also see: Abortion legal definition -

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