Sarah Weddington, Lawyer Who Won Abortion Rights For All American Women
You'd be hard-pressed to find an American woman today who hadn't heard of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Less well known, however, is the woman who argued the case before the highest court in the country, Sarah Weddington.
In 1972, at the age of 26, Weddington and her former law school classmate Linda Coffee defended “Jane Roe” (real name Norma McCorvey) in a class-action suit brought against the state of Texas, demanding the right of women to abort an unwanted pregnancy. They won the case in a seven-to-two decision that overturned decades of antiabortion statutes across the country.
In addition to arguing for Roe v. Wade, Weddington also ran a successful campaign to become the first woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where she served three terms. Weddington continues to work on behalf of women’s rights, reforming rape statutes and blocking antiabortion legislation today.