Roe v Wade abortion rights lawyer Sarah Weddington dies aged 76

A US lawyer who helped in legalising abortion nationwide after winning the landmark Roe v. Wade case before the Supreme Court has died, aged 76.

Sarah Weddington died in her sleep on Sunday at her home in Austin, Texas early on Sunday morning. While she had been in poor health for some time, her cause of death is currently unknown.

Ms Weddington was raised as a minister’s daughter in the city of Abilene, western Texas and she attended law school at the University of Texas.

A few years after graduating, Ms Weddington and her former classmate, Linda Coffee, raised a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman who wanted to challenge a state law that largely banned abortion.

The case of Jane Roe, whose real name was Norma McCorvey, progressed to the Supreme Court twice – once in December 1971 and again in October 1972 – where Ms Weddington and Ms Coffee helped in securing a 7-2 ruling in 1973 that gave people the legal right to safely access abortions in the US.

Sarah Weddington, an attorney who argued the winning side of the landmark case Roe v. Wade is pictured holding the landmark ruling.

Ms Weddington went on to represent the city of Austin in the Texas House of Representatives, a general counsel of the US Department of Agriculture and an advisor on women’s issues to former US President, Jimmy Carter.

She remained active in the political and legal worlds in her later years, and wrote a book on her landmark court case, titled A Question of Choice, in 2003.

Ms Weddington also became lecturer and teacher at the University of Texas and Texas Women’s University where she taught about leadership, law, and gender discrimination.

Her death comes as the US Supreme Court is considering a case regarding the state of Mississippi’s ban on abortion for pregnancies that surpass 15 weeks, which is thought to be one of the most serious challenges to the Roe v. Wade decision.

Douglas Mateo

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