Aid to Families with Unborn Dependent Children: May the States Withhold Benefits?

This note will examine whether the duty to provide aid to unborn children should be imposed on all states participating in the AFDC program. It will first consider the argument that denying such benefits violates the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, but the bulk of the note will be devoted to an interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Social Security Act. The statutory analysis requires several steps. First, it is necessary to examine and interpret the cases in which the Supreme Court has analyzed the legitimacy of state-imposed eligibility conditions. The focus will then shift to the proper reading of the term “dependent children.” The HEW regulation dealing with aid to the unborn child and the stated purposes of the Social Security Act are discussed in this context.