Harris v. McRae
HARRIS V. McRAE,
HARRIS V. McRAE, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), a case in which the Supreme Court upheld by a 5 to 4 vote the power of Congress to exclude elective abortions from coverage under the Medicaid program. The Hyde Amendment, named after Representative Henry Hyde and passed in several versions since 1976, barred the use of federal funds for abortions except when the mother's life was in danger or when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest (the latter clause was later repealed). Although a Republican, Hyde received enough bipartisan support for the bill to be enacted by a Democratic Congress and president.
Cora McRae was one of several pregnant Medicaid recipients who brought suit, alleging that the Hyde Amendment violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the religion clauses of the First Amendment. At the time, the plaintiffs had reason for optimism because the Supreme Court had held that the government must subsidize other rights, such as the right to counsel, for the indigent. In addition, Congress had established the Medicaid program in 1965 under Title XIX of the Social Security Act specifically to give federal aid to states choosing to reimburse the indigent for medical treatments they could not afford. McRae contended that Title XIX obligated states receiving Medicaid funds to fund medically necessary abortions despite the Hyde Amendment's provisions. Indeed the federal district court granted McRae injunctive relief, ruling (491 F. Supp. 630) that although the Hyde Amendment amended (rather than violated) Title XIX, it nevertheless did violate both the Fifth and First Amendments.
In 1977, however, the Supreme Court upheld state laws similar to the Hyde Amendment, suggesting that abortion would not be treated like other rights. Harris v. McRae applied the same reasoning to the national government, reversing and remanding the district court ruling while holding the Hyde Amendment constitutional. "Although government may not place obstacles in the path of a woman's exercise of her freedom of choice," wrote Justice Potter Stewart, "it need not remove those of its own creation. Indigency falls in the latter category." The dissenters, especially Thurgood Marshall, argued that the decision ignored "another world 'out there'" in which poor women could not get abortions without assistance from Medicaid. The Hyde Amendment fore-shadowed a number of attacks on abortion rights after 1989, both in individual state legislatures and, in 1995, in a federal ban on abortions in military hospitals and for those covered by federal health plans. The Hyde Amendment was still in effect in the early 2000s, although states retained the right to subsidize abortions with their own funds.
Baer, Judith A. Women in American Law. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1991.
Bingham, Marjorie. Women and the Constitution. St. Paul, Minn.: The Upper Midwest Women's History Center, 1990.
Hoff-Wilson, Joan. Law, Gender, and Injustice. New York: New York University Press, 1991.
Judith A.Baer/a. r.
"Harris v. McRae." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/harris-v-mcrae
"Harris v. McRae." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved September 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/harris-v-mcrae
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.