The Heartbreaking Death Of Roe V. Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington

On Sunday morning, Sarah Weddington, an attorney involved in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, died at 76 years old. The announcement was made by Weddington's former student at The University of Texas School of Law and current lawyer, Susan Hays, in a series of tweets which revealed that Weddington's death followed "a series of health issues."

Weddington first made a name for herself in 1971 when she argued the landmark Roe v. Wade case in front of the Supreme Court. As People reported, Weddington was fresh out of law school and only 26 years old when she took on the case of Norma McCorvey (who was operating under a pseudonym at the time, Jane Roe), a pregnant waitress from Dallas, who was ready to take down the restrictive abortion laws in the state of Texas. Ultimately, the 7-2 ruling of the Supreme Court justices in favor of Weddington and Roe secured new abortion rights for people across the country. According to the Legal Information Institute, Roe v. Wade established the fact that women could secure a safe abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy, and after that point, it was up to the individual states to determine abortion rights.

"As a young Texas lawyer, she stood fearlessly before the U.S. Supreme Court generating the landmark abortion rights decision that changed the course of history and opened doors for the generations that followed," Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas said in a statement on Twitter.

Weddington was a trailblazer in the Texas government

Aside from being the youngest person ever to argue a court before the Supreme Court at 26 years old, Sarah Weddington was also a trailblazer in the Texas government. According to The Dallas Morning News, Weddington became the first Austin woman to join the Texas House of Representatives in 1973, and then, in 1977, the first woman to become the general counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Weddington made it her mission to help more women around the country secure legal protections.

Weddington's death comes at an especially interesting time for the Roe v. Wade verdict. Just within the past year, states including Texas and Mississippi have begun challenging the verdict reached in the original court case. Currently, the Supreme Court is considering a case out of Mississippi that would allow the state to ban all abortions after 15 weeks, per The Hill. While speaking to Texas Monthly in 2003, Weddington admitted that the Roe v. Wade verdict had not ended the debate over abortion rights. "I am sure when my obituary is written, the lead paragraph will be about Roe v. Wade," Weddington told Texas Monthly. "I thought, over a period of time, that the right of a woman to make a decision about what she would do in a particular pregnancy would be accepted — that by this time, the thirtieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. , the controversy over abortion would have gradually faded away like the closing scenes of a movie and we could go on to other issues. I was wrong."