Maher v. Roe
432 U.S. 464 (1977)

  • Connecticut limited Medicaid benefits for abortions to those that were considered medically necessary.
  • Roe wanted an abortion and wanted Medicaid to pay for it. She sued, claiming that the Connecticut law was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it denied the guaranteed right to an abortion to indigent women.
    • In Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)). it was established that there is a fundamental right to an abortion based on the right to privacy.
      • Totally different ‘Roe’ in that case.
  • The US Supreme Court found the Connecticut law to be constitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found that ‘financial need’ did not create a suspect class, so the proper level of review was rational basis review.
    • The Court found that the law was rationally related to a legitimate State interest.
    • The Court noted that there was a distinction between direct State interference with a protected activity and “State encouragement of alternative activity consonant with legislative policy.”
      • “Although the government may not place obstacles in the path of a woman’s exercise of her freedom of choice, it need not remove those not of its own creation.”
  • This case basically said that just because you have a constitutional right to something, it doesn’t mean that the State has an obligation to pay for it.
    • “The Constitution does not provide judicial remedies for every social and economic ill.”
    • But compare to Gideon v. Wainwright (372 U.S. 335 (1963)), which found that an indigent person did have the right to legal counsel in criminal trials, even if they couldn’t pay for it.
      • Of course, the difference is that the 6th Amendment explicitly states that, “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right… to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”