Sarah Weddington, ‘Jane Roe’ lawyer in landmark abortion case, dead at 76

Sarah Weddington, the attorney who represented “Jane Roe” Norma McCorvey in the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case, died in her Texas home Sunday, according to reports.

She was 76.

“Sarah Weddington was a Texas giant,” Texas state Rep. John Bucy said on Twitter.

“From litigating Roe v. Wade, to serving in the Texas House, to supporting countless women in politics, she has left a legacy of fighting for progress that is nearly unmatched,” he wrote.

Weddington, the daughter of a Methodist minister, was 26 years old and just five years removed from law school when she took on the controversial case.

She had been among only five women out of a class of 1,600 to graduate with a law degree from the University of Texas in 1967, the encyclopedia said.

Sarah Weddington who is known for winning the landmark Roe Vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, speaks to thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2004.

Sarah Ragle Weddington, was born Feb. 5, 1945, the daughter of a Methodist minister, The New York Times reported. She graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, with a degree in English in 1964 and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in 1967.

“I thought I would be teaching eighth graders to love ‘Beowulf,’” Weddington told The Guardian in 2017. “But that wasn’t working out so well, so I decided to go to law school instead. In this, I was encouraged by the dean of my college, who told me that it would be far too tough for a woman. ‘As sure as dammit I am going,’ I thought.”

After graduating from law school, Weddington joined a group of students who were seeking to challenge anti-abortion laws, agreeing to file a suit against the state of Texas on their behalf, The Guardian reported. Soon after, 21-year-old Norma Jean McCorvey was referred to Weddington and her colleague, Linda Coffee. McCorvey became the plaintiff, “Jane Roe”, although by the time the Supreme Court issued its ruling, her baby had been born and given up for adoption.

A firebrand, Weddington was still arguing Roe v. Wade in 1972 when she ran for state legislature and became the first woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives serving Austin, according to Britannica.

Weddington’s death comes as Roe v. Wade faces its most serious challenge in decades.

The Supreme Court is currently weighing a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on abortion, with six conservative justices on the nine-member court signaling support for the ban.


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