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Beal v. Doe (1977)

In Brief

Beal v. Doe (1977): Court rules Social Security Act does not require funding of "nontherapeutic" abortions

The Social Security Act requires states to establish reasonable standards for determining Medicaid funding. Pennsylvania's plan limited payment of Medicaid funds to abortions certified by doctors as medically necessary.

A group of women who qualified for Medicaid assistance but were denied funding for "nontherapeutic" abortions filed suit, claiming the Pennsylvania plan violated the Social Security Act.

The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that the Social Security Act does not require states to fund unnecessary medical services and that requiring payment of unnecessary abortions would undermine Pennsylvania's strong interest in encouraging childbirth over abortion.

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