Sarah Weddington, lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade, dies at 76

<p>FILE - Attorney Sarah Weddington speaks during a women's rights rally on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. Weddington, who at 26 successfully argued the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, died Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. She was 76.</p>

Mike Groll – staff, AP

<p>FILE - Sarah Weddington, general counsel at the Agriculture Department, smiles during an interview at her office in Washington on Aug. 31, 1978. Weddington, who at 26 successfully argued the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, died Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. She was 76.</p>

Barry Thumma – staff, AP

Sarah Weddington, a Texas lawyer who as a 26-year-old successfully argued the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, died Sunday. She was 76.

Susan Hays, Weddington’s former student and colleague, said she died in her sleep early Sunday morning at her Austin home. Weddington had been in poor health for some time and it was not immediately clear what caused her death, Hays told The Associated Press.

Raised as a minister’s daughter in the West Texas city of Abilene, Weddington attended law school at the University of Texas. A couple years after graduating, she and a former classmate, Linda Coffee, brought a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman challenging a state law that largely banned abortions.

The case of “Jane Roe,” whose real name was Norma McCorvey, was brought against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade and eventually advanced to the Supreme Court.

Weddington argued the case before the high court twice, in December 1971 and again in October 1972, resulting the next year in the 7-2 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Weddington’s death comes as the Supreme Court is considering a case over Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that’s widely considered to be most serious challenge in years to the Roe decision.

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