Sarah Weddington, the Texas lawyer who won the 1973 landmark abortion case Roe v Wade at the Supreme court, died on Dec. 26 at her home in Austin aged 76.
Weddington’s former student and colleague Susan Hays, who is running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, announced on Twitter that Weddington died “after a series of health issues.”
Hays described Weddington as “the best writing instructor I ever had and a great mentor.”
The Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas issued a statement, saying that Weddington “stood fearlessly before the U.S. Supreme Court generating the landmark abortion rights decision that changed the course of history and opened doors for the generations that followed.”
Weddington was only 27 years old when she successfully argued the Roe v Wade case.
Hays said on Twitter that Weddington “ironically” work on the case “because law firms would not hire women in the early 70s, leaving her with lots of time for good trouble.”
Weddington’s death comes as the Supreme Court appears poised to accept a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.
In a 2003 interview with Texas Monthly, Weddington said that she thought the controversy over abortion “would have gradually faded away… and we could go on to other issues” as the case marked its thirtieth anniversary.
“I was wrong,” Weddington had said.
Weddington also held office in the Texas House of Representatives for three terms in the 1970s. During that time, she successfully passed a bill reforming Texas’ sexual abuse laws and providing legal protection to rape victims.
Weddington later became the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and went on to become an adviser on women’s issues in U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s administration.
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