High court backs a ban on funds for abortions

The Supreme Court upheld Congress's ban on funding most abortions for poor women Monday, ruling 5 to 4 that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting potential life. The majority also said states are under no obligation to pay for abortions when federal funds are not available to reimburse them.

Writing for the majority, Justice Potter Stewart said the congressional ban, known as the Hyde Amendment, does not violate a woman's constitutional rights. The amendment allows federal funding of abortions for the poor only to save the woman's life or in cases of pregnancy from rape or incest that are properly reported to authorities.

In another opinion Monday, the high court upheld, 8 to 1, a record $105 million award to the Sioux nation for the government's taking of the gold-rich Black Hills of South Dakota.

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