Constitution - No obligation to pay medical expenses of indigent
The Constitution imposes no
obligation on the States to pay the pregnancy-related medical
expenses of indigent women, or indeed to pay any of the medical
expenses of indigents.
If alleviate hardships by providing medical care, THEN subject
to constitution limitations.
But when a State decides to
alleviate some of the hardships of poverty by providing medical
care, the manner in which it dispenses benefits is subject to
Maher claim - equal treatment to both abortion and childbirth
Connecticut must accord equal
treatment to both abortion and childbirth, and may not evidence
a policy preference by funding only the medical expenses
incident to childbirth.
Court - Equal Protection Clause Challenge
This challenge to the
classifications established by the Connecticut regulation
presents a question arising under the Equal Protection Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment
Court - In this Case - No discrimination against a suspect class
An indigent woman desiring an
abortion does not come within the limited category of
disadvantaged classes so recognized by our cases.
Nor does the fact that the impact of
the regulation falls upon those who cannot pay lead to a
Whether the regulation "impinges upon a fundamental right
explicitly or implicitly protected by the Constitution?
Roe v. Wade
Roe involved a Texas law prohibiting
abortion, except to save the life of the mothers.
We held that only a compelling state
interest would justify such a sweeping restriction on a
constitutionally protected interest, and we found no such state
- The regulation places no obstacle
The regulation imposed no
restriction on access to abortions that was not already there.
The regulation does not impinge upon
the fundament right to recognize in Roe.
Maher Claim - Regulation penalizes women
Regulation penalizes the womans
decision to have an abortion by refusing to pay for it.
- In this case - This is State Encouragement
There is a basic difference between
direct state interference with a protected activity and state
encouragement of an alternative activity consonant with
- Rational Review
The State unquestionably has a
"strong and legitimate interest in encouraging normal
Nor can there be any question that
the Connecticut regulation rationally furthers that interest.
The medical costs associated with
childbirth are substantial.
Constitution does not provide judicial remedies for every social
and economic ill.
DISSENT - Justice Brennan
It is difficult if not impossible
for an indigent woman to access a competent licensed physician.
No other choice
The indigent woman will feel that
they have no choice but to carry the baby to term because the
State will pay for the medical expenses.
Coerce, Force, and Inhibits
The disparity in funding clearly
operates to coerce the indigent pregnant women to bear children
they would not other choose to have.
The regulation puts financial
pressures on the indigent woman that force them to bear child
they would not otherwise have.
States have inhibited their
fundamental right to make the choice free from state
Sherbert v. Verner
Struck down a statute that denied
unemployment compensation to a woman who for religious reasons
could not work on Saturday.
Sherbert held that "the pressure
upon her to forgo [her religious] practice [was] unmistakable,"
and therefore held that the effect
was the same as a fine imposed for Saturday worship.
Dissent - Withholds benefits that discourages the exercises of a
Here, though the burden is upon the
right to privacy derived from the Due Process Clause and not
upon freedom of religion under the Free Exercise Clause of the
First Amendment, the governing
principle is the same, for Connecticut grants and
withholds financial benefits in a manner that discourages
significantly the exercise of a fundamental constitutional
DISSENT - Justice Marshall
This statute imposes a moral
viewpoint that no State may constitutionally enforce.