Roe v. Casey, Civ. A. No. 78-2214.

Decision Date21 December 1978
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 78-2214.
Citation464 F. Supp. 487
PartiesJane ROE, Mary Moe and Annyce Hawkins, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, John Franklin, M.D., and Louis Gerstley, III, M.D., Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women, Women's Health Services and Philadelphia Welfare Rights Organization, Pennsylvania not-for-profit corporations v. Robert E. CASEY, Individually and in his official capacity as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Aldo Colautti, Individually and in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Alice M. Price, Women's Law Project, Roland Morris, Paulette Ettachild, Community Legal Services, Thomas B. Harvey, American Civil Liberties Union of Pa., Philadelphia, Pa., for plaintiffs.

Louis G. F. Retacco, Chief Counsel to the State Treasurer, Harrisburg, Pa., Maria Parisi Vickers, Asst. Atty. Gen., Philadelphia, Pa., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

BECHTLE, District Judge.

The narrow issue presented by this action for final injunctive and declaratory relief is whether recent enactments of the Pennsylvania legislature, which preclude medical assistance payments for abortions, other than those necessary to save the life of the mother, deprive the plaintiffs of their rights under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1396, et seq. ("Social Security Act," "Medicaid," or "Title XIX"), or the First, Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. For the reasons stated below, we hold that Pennsylvania's prohibitions upon Medicaid funding for abortions other than those necessary to save the life of the mother deprive the plaintiffs of their right to receive reimbursement, pursuant to Title XIX of the Social Security Act, for medically necessary procedures, including medically necessary abortions. Because we find the plaintiffs' constitutional claims to be sufficiently substantial to confer jurisdiction upon this Court, see White v. Beal, 555 F.2d 1146, 1149 (3d Cir. 1977), and because our holding with respect to the plaintiffs' federal statutory claim is dispositive of the action before us, we do not reach the constitutional issues raised by the plaintiffs' complaint.

The plaintiffs brought this action for injunctive and declaratory relief pursuant to Title XIX of the Social Security Act and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to redress the deprivation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to personal privacy, due process and equal protection, as guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The complaint seeks relief in the form of an Order of this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202 and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 57 and 65, declaring invalid and enjoining the enactment and implementation of Pennsylvania Public Acts 16A and 148, Pa. Act No. 1978-16A, May 31, 1978, P.L. ___, and Pa. Act No. 1978-148, September 26, 1978, P.L. ___, respectively, which prohibit state medical assistance payments for medically necessary abortions, other than those necessary to save the life of the mother, to women otherwise eligible to receive medical assistance pursuant to Title XIX of the Social Security Act. The named plaintiffs are Jane Roe ("Roe"), Mary Moe ("Moe"), Annyce Hawkins ("Hawkins"), John Franklin, M.D. ("Franklin"), Louis Gerstley, III, M.D. ("Gerstley"), Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania ("Planned Parenthood"), Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women ("Elizabeth Blackwell"), Women's Health Services ("Women's Health") and Philadelphia Welfare Rights Organization ("Welfare Rights") (collectively, "health care providers").1 Plaintiffs Roe, Moe and Hawkins are each eligible for and dependent upon medical assistance and have each been certified by a physician as needing a medically necessary, but not life-saving, abortion to preserve her health. Roe is a 23-year-old female who intended to carry her pregnancy to term but who suffers from a condition called hyperemsis gravidorum. As a result of this condition, which is complicated by pregnancy, she cannot digest food and suffers constant abdominal pain. Moe is a 13-year-old female who is pregnant and who has been certified by her physician as needing an abortion to preserve her health because her immature pelvis would cause difficult labor and probable internal damage, there would be an increased incidence of pre-eclampsia if she carried the pregnancy to term and her nutritional status would be adversely affected. Hawkins has a history of psychiatric problems and has been hospitalized because of an attempted suicide. Hawkins' psychiatrist has certified that her pregnancy has caused increased depression, that she is capable of carrying out her suicide threat and that an abortion is necessary for her health because an inability to secure an abortion would result in severe psychological damage. Roe, Moe and Hawkins bring this action on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. Plaintiffs Franklin and Gerstley, physicians licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who specialize in the field of obstetrics and gynecology and who perform abortions for, and desire to continue performing abortions for, patients requiring them after private consultation and appropriate medical review, bring this action on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. Plaintiffs Planned Parenthood, Elizabeth Blackwell and Women's Health are Pennsylvania not-for-profit corporations which provide, inter alia, obstetrical and gynecological health care, including abortions which have been certified by a physician as being medically necessary, for Medicaid-eligible patients. Plaintiff Welfare Rights is an unincorporated association with offices in Philadelphia which consists of, and is directed by, Medicaid and public assistance recipients, including those for whom abortions have been and potentially will be certified as being medically necessary. The named defendants are Robert E. Casey ("Casey"), who is sued individually and in his official capacity as Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and who is responsible for the release of Commonwealth funds to reimburse physicians and health care providers for the performance of abortion services, and Aldo Colautti ("Colautti"), who is sued individually and in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("Public Welfare"), and who is responsible for the overall operation and administration of Public Welfare's programs and for the expenditure of sums appropriated for those programs, including medical assistance payments for abortions.

In Count I of their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Public Acts 16A and 148, on their face and as applied, deny reimbursement to women patients eligible to receive medical assistance for medically necessary abortions and, as such, violate their rights under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396a(a)(13), (17), (19) and (22)(D), 42 C.F.R. § 449.10(a)(5)(i) and other implementing federal regulations and have, therefore, violated their rights under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Article 6, Clause 2. In Counts II and III, the named women plaintiffs allege that Public Acts 16A and 148, on their face and as applied, deprive them and the class they represent of their rights under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the rights retained by them under the Ninth Amendment, respectively, to the United States Constitution. In Count IV, the plaintiffs allege that Public Acts 16A and 148, on their face and as applied, deny plaintiffs Franklin, Gerstley, the class of physicians, Planned Parenthood, Elizabeth Blackwell and Women's Rights reimbursement for necessary medical services rendered to their indigent women patients eligible for Medicaid, and interferes with their professional medical judgment as to the medically necessary and appropriate treatment of, and treatment in the best interests of, such patients and violates their rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1396, 42 C.F.R. § 449.10(a)(3)(i) and other implementing federal regulations. In Counts V and VI, plaintiffs Franklin, Gerstley and the class of physicians claim that Public Acts 16A and 148, on their face and as applied, deprive them of rights guaranteed by the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of their rights to provide, inter alia, appropriate and necessary medical treatment under the Ninth Amendment, respectively, to the United States Constitution. Lastly, in Count VII, Welfare Rights, by incorporation, asserts Counts I through VI on behalf of the class of women patients. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1331, and the amount in controversy is alleged to exceed $10,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

The procedural history of and facts pertinent to this Opinion are as follows: Public Act 16A, otherwise known as H.B. 2246 or the Appropriations Act of 1978, is a general appropriations act which states, in pertinent part:

No money shall be disbursed from this appropriation $395,540,000 to the Department of Welfare for Medical Assistance to pay for, make reimbursement for, or otherwise to support the performance of any abortion except where the abortion is certified in writing by a physician to be necessary to save the life of the mother.

Public Act 16A, p. 38, lines 11-16. The Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania signed Public Act 16A on May 23, 1978, and it was then transmitted to Milton J. Shapp, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ("Governor"). Pursuant to the...

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    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York
    • January 15, 1980
    ...a doubt about the effect of the "Hyde amendment" and retained jurisdiction pending further consideration of that issue. Roe v. Casey, E.D.Pa.1978, 464 F.Supp. 487, challenged the validity of the Pennsylvania law forbidding medical assistance payments for any abortions except those necessary......
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