Sarah Weddington made abortion history in the United States. The lawyer, made famous for having successfully argued the Roe v. Wade in the United States Supreme Court, died at 76, Sunday, December 26.
In 1973, Sarah Weddington and fellow lawyer Linda Coffee filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman challenging a law in the state of Texas that prohibited abortions. “She pleaded with Linda Coffee in what was the first case of her career, Roe v. Wade, when she was just out of law school, ”Susan Hays, one of Sarah Weddington’s former students, wrote on Twitter. « She was my teacher » and « opened my eyes to the fragility of my rights and my freedom, » she said, adding that the lawyer had succumbed to a series of health problems.
Sarah Weddington died this morning after a series of health issues. With Linda Coffee she filed the first case of her legal career, Roe v. Wade, fresh out of law school. She was my professor at UT, the best writing instructor I ever had, and a great mentor. 1/
— Susan Hays (@hays4ag) December 26, 2021
READ ALSOUnited States: why the right to abortion can really disappear
A right in danger
The Jane Roe case – real name Norma McCorvey – brought against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade ultimately came to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of abortion rights. This right is not guaranteed by federal law and has since been based on this jurisprudence. In this judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees the right of women to have an abortion and that states cannot deprive them of it. In 1992, she clarified that this right was valid as long as the fetus is not « viable », that is to say around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
However, a majority of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States seems today tempted to modify this legal framework which, for almost 50 years, has guaranteed the right of American women to have an abortion, either by restricting it or by canceling it purely and simply. US President Joe Biden assured the 1is December that he « continued » to support the Roe v. Wade. This historic stop « looks like a house on the edge of a beach and threatening to take water and collapse », warned Sarah Weddington in 1998.