AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — Sarah Weddington, the attorney who argued the landmark Roe v Wade case in the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion nationally, has died, according to a statement from her family provided to The Texas Tribune by Susan Hays, her friend and mentee.
Weddington, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, was 76 and had a series of health issues in recent years, Hays said.
Weddington was found unresponsive in her Austin home early Sunday by her assistant, Hays said. The official cause of death is not yet known.
Paying tribute to Weddington, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett described her as a “friend and fellow legislator who worked effectively for Austin.”
In 2018, she was inducted into Austin’s Women’s Hall of Fame.
“She coordinated our State of Texas office in Washington, served as a Presidential advisor, as an educator, and as a speaker around the world,” Doggett said.
“Her passion for reproductive freedom was matched by her compassion for our neighbors. She shows the tremendous impact that one determined woman can make.
“With Sarah gone, it is more important than ever to ensure that the fundamental constitutional freedom for which she secured recognition from our highest court is not also gone.”
Weddington was born in Abilene and attended McMurray University in her hometown before studying law at the University of Texas at Austin.
Weddington argued the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court twice.
She was then elected to three terms in the Texas House before being tapped by the Carter administration as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Weddington taught law courses at UT Law for 28 years. She also taught courses at Texas Women’s University for 19 years.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.