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Maher v. Roe

Legal Consequences Of Maher V. Roe

The Maher case helped make it much easier for state governments to deny funding for abortions. For example, Maher was cited as a precedent in a 1980 case that eventually upheld the Hyde Amendment.

Besides the immediate consequences for poor women who could not get funding for abortions, Maher v. Roe also affected the way the Supreme Court defined "rights" in general. The case, despite the objections of the dissenters, established the precedent that the government is not responsible for helping citizens exercise their rights. Moreover, governments are allowed to set policy that support citizens in exercising some rights (having children) while failing to support them in exercising others (having abortions.)

Thus, in a later case known as Selective Service System v. Minnesota Pub. Int. (1984), the Court ruled that college students who were receiving federal educational assistance had to certify that they had registered for the draft as a condition of getting aid. Technically, under the Fifth Amendment, the government cannot require a person to testify against himself or herself. So it would have been unconstitutional to pass a law requiring all students to certify that they had registered for the draft. Students who were dependent on government aid, however, could be required to waive their rights in exchange for receiving the aid. Just as poor women were still theoretically free to have abortions, needy students were still theoretically free to refuse to testify against themselves.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Maher v. Roe - Significance, Doctor's Certification Needed, Not A Protected Class, A Distressing Insensitivity, Legal Consequences Of Maher V. Roe