The disappearance of the mother of the abortion law, Sarah Weddington
The lawyer, Sarah Weddington, fought alongside a colleague against a law banning abortions, resulting in the historic decision “Roe v. Wade”, which still guarantees the right to abortion in the United States. She died on Sunday at the age of 76.
The general public does not know her name very well, but her action marked a turning point in the history of American women’s rights and changed the lives of many women.
Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark abortion rights case “Roe v. Wade” before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, died Sunday at age 76, according to one of her former students.
In early 1973, Sarah Weddington, along with fellow student Linda Coffee, filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman challenging a Texas state law that banned abortions.
Norma McCorvey, a young woman living alone but using the pseudonym “Jane Roe”, had filed a complaint for the first time in 1969, pregnant with her third child and claiming to have been raped, reports the BBC.
Unfortunately, her claim was rejected and she was forced to go through with it. But in 1973, the “Jane Roe” case, brought against Dallas County Attorney Henry Wade, who defended the anti-abortion law, finally reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of the right to abortion by signing the historic “Roe v. Wade” decision.
Since then, the right to abortion in the United States has been based on this case law and is not guaranteed by federal law.
In that decision, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion and that the states may not deprive her of that right. In 1992, it said that this right was valid until the fetus is “viable,” or around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. “She argued with Linda Coffee what was the first case of her career, Roe v. Wade, when she was just out of law school,” wrote Susan Hays, one of Sarah Weddington’s former students, on Twitter.
According to the BBC, the lawyer was then 26 years old. “She was my teacher” and “opened my eyes to the fragility of my rights and freedom,” she continued, noting that Sarah Weddington had succumbed to “a series of health problems.”