POELKER v. DOE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
75-442
Petitioner 
Poelker
Respondent 
Doe
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

A St. Louis policy prohibited non-therapeutic abortions in the city's two publicly run hospitals.

Question 

Did the policy violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Poelker, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

No. The Court held that St. Louis could enact a "policy choice" to refuse to provide publicly financed hospitals for nontherapeutic abortions even though it provided facilities for childbirth. Relying on its reasoning in Maher v. Roe (1977), the Court distinguished between a state interfering with a protected activity and simply encouraging an alternative activity. Since the state did not deny women the right to have an abortion, the law was consistent with the Constitution.

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POELKER v. DOE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1976/1976_75_442>.
POELKER v. DOE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1976/1976_75_442 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"POELKER v. DOE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1976/1976_75_442.