• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld a California law denying disability benefits to pregnant women, but its ruling was later set aside by federal legislation.

Three state employees challenged California’s disability benefits system, which denied medical benefits to pregnant women, charging that the plan violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the California law had been amended to include such benefits by the time the Supreme Court received the case, the Court held six to three that the plan was constitutional and did not discriminate against women because the benefit drew the line between women who were and were not pregnant. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., dissented, arguing that policies based on differences in physical characteristics linked to sex did not provide equal protection. Congress passed the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination ActPregnancy Discrimination Act to remedy the Court’s decision.Discrimination, sex;Geduldig v. Aiello[Geduldig v. Aiello]

Due process, procedural

Fourteenth Amendment

Gender issues

Pregnancy, disability, and maternity leaves

Reversals of Court decisions by Congress

Categories: History Content