You Know Roe V. Wade, but Do You Know the 26-year-old Lawyer Who Won the Case?
Sarah Weddington grew up in Abilene, Texas, the daughter of the minister. She completed high school in two years, then got a degree in English before attending the University of Texas Law School. She was one of only five women in her class. After graduating, she joined a group of students that were mounting a case against anti-abortion laws. “Having a law that made abortion illegal didn’t mean there was no abortion, it just meant that abortion was not safe,” Weddington told MAKERS.
In 1971, the group’s case was selected to be heard before the Supreme Court. Weddington was 26 when she argued it. “We are here to advocate that the decision as to whether or not a particular woman will continue to carry or will terminate a pregnancy is a decision that should be made by that individual,” Weddington said to the court.
In 1973, it was announced that she won the case, seven to two. And with the landmark ruling, the anti-abortion laws of 46 states were rendered unconstitutional. She never imagined that 42 years later, we would still be arguing over a woman’s right to choose.