John K. Enright


This Note surveys recent litigation challenging the state denial of AFDC payments to pregnant women seeking benefit on behalf of their unborn children. Such decisions have focused on the issue of whether unborn children come within the definition of "dependent child" as set forth in Section 606 of the AFDC. Thus far, fourteen of seventeen reported decisions have included unborn children within the statutory definition. The Note concludes that the unborn child cases illustrate the difficulty of the rule that the Supreme Court laid out in Townsend v. Swank, which held that states must make AFDC payments to all eligible individuals and as such gives federal courts the power of broad construction to define eligibility. In the absence of a rule that would require a showing of specific eligibility, controversies similar to the unborn child cases are apt to reoccur.