Sarah Ragle Weddington


Sarah Weddington is best known for having successfully argued the 1973: Roe v. Wade abortion rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Born in Abilene, Texas, she attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin as one of only 40 women among 1,600 students.

She opened her practice in 1970 and almost immediately joined with Dallas lawyer Linda Coffee on the Roe case to defend their client's right to have an abortion.

Active in the Texas women's movement, Weddington lobbied in the Texas Legislature for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and was a founder of the Texas Women's Political Caucus.

She was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972. One of the first actions she took was to change the law that prevented women from getting credit cards in their own names. Other Weddington-sponsored legislation stopped schools from firing pregnant teachers and improved the treatment of rape victims.

When Jimmy Carter was elected President, Weddington became general counsel for the Department of Agriculture in Washington. In 1978, she became an advisor to the president on women's issues, and later became a member of the White House senior staff. Weddington returned to Austin after Carter lost re-election and resumed her legal practice. She now teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, writes, and speaks publicly, particularly about women and leadership.

Biography Source Information

Biographies are reprinted from the Foundation for Women’s Resources (now Women’s Resources), Dallas, Texas. They originally appeared in "From Gutsy Mavericks to Quiet Heroes: True Tales of Texas Women," video study guide, Austin: The Foundation for Women's Resources, 1997. Death dates have been added where needed.