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Poelker v. Doe

Significance, Another Reversal, Complicated Issues


John H. Poelker, et al.


Jane Doe, et al.

Petitioners' Claim

That the city of St. Louis, in electing as a policy choice to provide publicly financed hospital services for childbirth but not for nontherapeutic abortions, did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Eugene P. Freeman

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Frank Susman

Justices for the Court

Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., 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


Upheld that the city of St. Louis did not violate Fourteenth Amendment equal protection, thereby reversing the judgement of the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Related Cases

  • Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965).
  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  • Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973).
  • Wulff v. Singleton, 428 U.S. 106 (1976).
  • Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977).
  • Bellotti v. Baird, 443 U.S. 622 (1979).

Further Readings

  • Mahoney, Hildegarde Marie. "National Health Care Legislation and the Funding of Abortion." America, October 16, 1993, p. 8.

Additional topics

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