Sarah Weddington, who argued Roe v. Wade, has died at 76

By Dave Andrusko

Just last week, we wrote about BeLynn Hollers’s profile of Linda Coffee, the less well known of the pro-abortion tendem that argued Roe v. Wade. Over the weekend, her co-counsel, Sarah Weddington, died Sunday morning at age 76.

In a February 2003 story in the Texas Monthly, Weddington spoke of how her name would forever be linked to the case that legalized abortion nationwide. “I am sure when my obituary is written, the lead paragraph will be about Roe v. Wade.”

She was so right. To list just two of many lead paragraphs….

*Sarah Weddington, the attorney who argued the landmark Roe v. Wade case in the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion nationally…”

Sarah Weddington, who successfully argued against Texas anti-abortion statutes before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade

Author Joshua Prager describes their first meeting. Attorney Henry McCluskey knew that Coffee

was on the lookout for a plaintiff. Sarah Weddington, a former classmate of Coffee’s at the University of Texas law school, had been urging Coffee to find a way to file suit against the abortion statutes in Texas. Coffee and Weddington had been academic stars, and both were committed to advocacy on behalf of women.

They were directed to Norma McCorvey (the Roe of Roe v. Wade). It took almost three years to work its way through the system and be decided by the Supreme Court 7-2 on January 22, 1973. Roe/Doe gave us essentially abortion on demand.

In an obituary written about McCorvey, the Washington Post’s Emily Langer wrote, “By the time the Supreme Court announced its decision, her baby was 2½ years old. She had given the child up for adoption and learned of the ruling in a newspaper article.” [Emphasis added.] Norma had served her purpose.

Weddington’s passing comes just weeks after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas’s Heartbeat Law which is designed to protect unborn babies whose hearts have begun to beat, usually at about 6 weeks of pregnancy.

The remainder of the quote that began this story–“I am sure when my obituary is written, the lead paragraph will be about Roe v. Wade”–is remarkably prophetic:

I thought, over a period of time, that the right of a woman to make a decision about what she would do in a particular pregnancy would be accepted — that by this time, the thirtieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade , the controversy over abortion would have gradually faded away like the closing scenes of a movie and we could go on to other issues. I was wrong.”

RIP Sarah Weddington.