Sarah Weddington Champions Rights of Women, 25 Years After Roe

Sarah Weddington is best known as the lawyer who pushed the Texas legal case, Roe v. Wade, to the Supreme Court in 1971.

She became involved with the landmark abortion case as a young twentysomething lawyer when she was approached by a group of women who needed free legal research. Weddington was the only female lawyer they knew.

Since then, however, Weddington has served as general counsel at the Department of Agriculture, a White House adviser to President Carter from 1978-80, and a US delegate to the second World Conference of Women in Copenhagen in 1980. As an adviser to Carter, she chaired an intergovernmental task force of 15 agencies and made economic issues and the equal-rights amendment her priorities. In those days men earned 60 percent more than women for the same job. And Weddington knew from experience how difficult it was for a women to get financial credit. As a lawyer putting her husband through school, she needed his signature on her credit application.

Twenty years after her success in front of the high court, Weddington spoke against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings, saying she feared he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Today Weddington teaches prelaw at the University of Texas in Austin and is in demand as a speaker and fund-raiser. The New York Times named her one of the Hot College Speakers in 1994, and the National Association of Campus Activities named her "Best Lecturer of the Year" in 1990.

She is also the author of "A Question of Choice" (1992), and is currently working on a book about leadership.

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