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The lawyer who successfully argued Roe v. Wade has died at 76


Sarah Weddington has died. Her career as a lawyer included one of the most famous court cases of the past half-century. Weddington was 26, fresh out of law school, when she helped to represent a woman known as Jane Roe.


That was the pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who asserted her right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade. Weddington recalls the heart of the Supreme Court ruling in 1973.


SARAH WEDDINGTON: It was basically that there was a right of privacy that made it possible for women to make the decision about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

MARTÍNEZ: Weddington died yesterday at her home in Texas at 76. The news arrives as the Supreme Court considers a challenge to that famous ruling.

INSKEEP: Few years ago, Weddington told NPR that a conservative majority of justices on the high court could arrive at a new conclusion, and she speculated on what the justices might say.


WEDDINGTON: The language is not in the Constitution, and so it doesn't really exist. It was made up by the justices at the time. There's also a possibility they would say, well, it still allows the states to legislate in whatever way they want to.

MARTÍNEZ: And Weddington said if that precedent is reversed, the implications are wider.


WEDDINGTON: Privacy is not meant to be a one-state deal. It's meant to be the basis for people living in all the United States.

MARTÍNEZ: Weddington's last public stand for abortion rights was two years ago.

INSKEEP: She attended the signing ceremony for a New York law that is designed to safeguard abortion rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

(SOUNDBITE OF RE:PLUS' "MOONSCAPE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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