A pioneer to abortion rights, Sarah Weddington passed in her sleep on Sunday morning Dec. 26. Known for being the youngest person to argue at the Supreme Court at the age of 26 in one of the most controversial cases of the high court’s history — Roe vs. Wade.
Attorney Susan Hays, a Democratic attorney running for Texas agriculture commissioner who is a former student of Weddington, confirmed the news in a Twitter string. Her death is reported to have happened in Austin, where she lived.
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
When the court handed down its 7-2 decision on Jan. 22, 1973, abortion became legal in the United States. Weddington became a heroine to some and a villain to others. And abortion became a permanent, fiery fixture in American politics.
Until now, as Roe vs. Wade is under challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case to be ruled upon next year.
Weddington, who was retired from the law, stayed active for some time accepting speaking engagements from universities and groups that support what she calls “reproductive freedom.”
Dallas lawyer Linda Coffee launched landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion rights case with a $15 filing fee
Dallas lawyer Linda Coffee, now also retired, recruited Weddington to be her co-counsel on the case.