Powerful Stories of Courage and Hope
Words are powerful. The right word at the right time can change anything. I have found that certain words have the power to transform my thinking and carry me through some of the most difficult times. Which word or phrase have you relied upon to get you through a particular challenge or to shift your attitude? How did this deepen your understanding of yourself or rearrange your thinking?
I’d love to hear your personal stories, ideas and questions you are still seeking answers for. By sharing our life lessons, we all get stronger together. So here’s to life’s ups and downs. With the right words, we can get through anything!
Mary Anne Dorward
April 23, 2013
Here is the background story on Sarah Weddington:
After graduating, Weddington found it difficult to find a job with a law firm. She instead joined a group of graduate students at University of Texas-Austin that was researching ways to challenge various anti-abortion statutes. After deciding that a woman should helm a lawsuit to challenge Texas’ statute, Weddington volunteered.
Soon after, a pregnant woman named Norma McCorvey visited a local attorney seeking an abortion. The attorney instead assisted McCorvey with handing over her child for adoption, and after doing so, referred McCorvey to Weddington and Linda Coffee. In March 1970, Weddington and her co-counsel filed suit against Wade, the Dallas district attorney and the person responsible for enforcing the anti-abortion statute. McCorvey became the landmark plaintiff, and was referred in the legal documents as “Jane Roe” to protect her identity.
Weddington first stated her case in front of a three-judge district court on May 1970 in Dallas. The district court agreed that the Texas abortion laws were unlawful, but the state appealed the decision, landing it before the United States Supreme Court.
Weddington appeared before the Supreme Court in 1971 and again in the fall of 1972. Her argument was based on the 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th and 14th amendments, as well as the Court’s previous decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized the sale of contraceptives based on the right of privacy.
Of the experience, Weddington later stated, “There was a sense of majesty, walking up those stairs, my steps echoing on the marble. I went to the lawyers’ lounge — to go over my argument. I wanted to make a last stop before I went in — but there was no ladies’ room in the lawyer’s lounge.”
The Court’s decision was ultimately handed down in January 1973, overturning Texas’ abortion law by a 7-2 majority, and legalizing abortion within the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. By then, Weddington had been elected a state legislator. At the age of 27, Weddington remains the youngest person to argue a successful Supreme Court case.
In 1992, Weddington compiled her experiences with the case and interviews with the people involved into a book titled “A Question of Choice.”