Roe v Wade abortion rights lawyer Sarah Weddington dies aged 76

Roe v Wade abortion rights lawyer Sarah Weddington dies aged 76
Weddington was involved in the landmark case that helped legalise abortion across the US

A US lawyer who helped legalise abortion nationwide by winning the landmark Roe v Wade case before the Supreme Court has died aged 76.

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

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

A few years after graduating, 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 Weddington and Ms Coffee helped in securing a 7-2 ruling in 1973 that gave women the legal right to safely access abortions in the US.

Weddington pictured holding the landmark ruling

Weddington went on to represent the city of Austin in the Texas House of Representatives, as well as serving as a general counsel in the US Department of Agriculture and an adviser 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, getiteld A Question of Choice, in 2003.

Weddington also became a lecturer and teacher at the University of Texas and Texas Woman’s University, where she taught on leadership, wetgewing, 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 weke, which is thought to be one of the most serious challenges yet to the Roe v Wade decision.

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