Harry Blackmun: Dissent in Beal v. Doe


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The 1977 case of Beal v. Doe concerned the application of federal funds to abortion clinics. Pennsylvania law prohibited the use of state Medicaid funds to pay for abortions for poor women, except in cases where a physician had certified the procedure as medically necessary. A group of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women who were seeking elective abortions brought a lawsuit in federal district court challenging the state law and claiming their right to abortion under Medicaid. At the same time,...