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Harris v. McRae

Significance, The Hyde Amendment, Back At The District Court, Returning To The Supreme Court


Secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia R. Harris, joined by Senators James L. Buckley and Jesse A. Helms, and Representative Henry J. Hyde as "intervenor-defendants"


Cora McRae, on behalf of herself and all New York state women similarly situated, and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.

Appellants' Claim

That the Hyde Amendment was constitutional, and that states did not have to pay the costs of indigent women's abortions, even those found medically necessary.

Chief Lawyer for Appellants

Wade H. McCree, Jr., U.S. Solicitor General

Chief Lawyer for Appellees

Rhonda Copelon

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

30 June 1980


Under the Hyde Amendment, states participating in the Medicaid program could not receive federal reimbursements for even medically necessary abortions and did not have to pay for them.

Related Cases

  • Beal v. Doe, 432 U.S. 438 (1977).
  • Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977).

Additional topics

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