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Beal v. Doe

Significance, Title Xix, Medicaid, And Pennsylvania, A Question Of Statutory Construction, Dissent: Forcing Poor Women To Have Children


Beal, Secretary, Department of Public Welfare of Pennsylvania, et al.


"Jane Doe"

Petitioner's Claim

That Title XIX of the Social Security Act, a statute governing the federal Medicaid program, did not require states participating in that program to provide financial assistance for non-therapeutic abortions--i.e., abortions that are not deemed medically necessary.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Norman J. Watkins

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Judd F. Crosby

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

20 June 1977


That Title XIX neither required states to fund non-therapeutic abortions nor prevented them from doing so.

Related Cases

  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  • Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973).
  • Bellotti v. Baird, 428 U.S. 132 (1976).
  • Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977).
  • Poelker v. Doe, 432 U.S. 519 (1977).
  • Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980).
  • Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980