Sarah Weddington: The Killer GirlBoss

This weekend, the successful litigator in Roe v. Wade passed away at the age of 76. May God's mercy be shown to her soul.

Who will talk evil of the dead if we don't? When I learnt of Sarah Weddington's death over the weekend, the terrible phrase sprang to me. She was the Texas lawyer who successfully defended Roe v. Wade in front of the Supreme Court, assisting in the establishment of the most draconian abortion policy this side of North Korea. Weddington's intentions were a study in banality's wickedness, and her proto-#GirlBoss act made the whole package even more disgusting.

Naturally, the abortion business and its supporters are in mourning. "What a loss," Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson tweeted. She promised to "remember Sarah Weddington's efforts every day—by continuing to fight for abortion access for all." Roe v. Wade is essentially halted in Weddington's home state, thanks to an innovative statute that gives residents a private right of action to hold abortionists accountable, according to the media obituaries.

Weddington had been concerned for a long time that the high court's Roe decision would be overturned. "Will abortion be banned the next day if [Neil] Gorsuch's nomination is approved?" she asked the Guardian in 2017. No. A new judge is unlikely to make a significant difference. However, two or three of them might." It gives me tremendous comfort to think that this grand dame of the abortion industry may have spent her dying days worrying about the condition of her career's crowning achievement.

Sarah Weddington was an outlier in the abortion-on-demand movement. She projected primness as the daughter of a Methodist preacher. "That she was smart was undeniable; she'd skipped two grades, graduated magna cum laude besides....[She] had headed her high-school chapter of the Future Homemakers of America, and had been assistant house mother for her Delta Gamma sorority," Joshua Prager writes in Family Roe, his book-length story about the people behind the notorious case. She was married and from a middle-class family." "I have received very few B's my whole life," she once stated. (People who say such things about themselves should be excluded from public life; it's a surefire way to spot psychopathy.)

A baby couldn’t be permitted to get in the way of her quest for A’s. In the middle-1960s, she and her future husband, Ron, were in law school when they “made a mistake,” as a New York Times review of her 1992 memoir, A Question of Choice, delicately put it. “Abortion was something I had never talked about with friends or family,” Weddington wrote. But she was now sure she had to obtain one, and obtain one she did, across the border, in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin's law school but was unable to find work in the private sector. Instead, she immersed herself in Austin's activist scene, working with a group of women who provided birth control counseling and information about Mexican abortionists. The women asked their legal buddy, Weddington, to see whether they could directly challenge the anti-abortion law in Texas.

Weddington paired up with fellow UT law alumni Linda Coffee, and the two quickly identified Norma McCorvey as a suitable plaintiff. Weddington piqued the pregnant McCorvey's interest, “strawberry-blond and curvy and just two years older than she,” as Prager tells us. “‘She was wholesome and robust and had things happening!…I fell in love with Sarah. She had all this hair.’”

The rest is history. Weddington appeared twice before the Supremes, once in 1971, when she was only 26, and again the following year, aged 27. She told the justices,

We are not here to advocate for abortion. We do not ask this court to rule that abortion is good or desirable in any particular situation. We are here to advocate that the decision whether or not a particular woman will continue to carry or will terminate a pregnancy is a decision that should be made by that individual. That, in fact, she has a constitutional right to make that decision for herself.

The all-male panel of judges agreed: law and morality could be neatly divided, as Weddington and Coffee had proposed.

Weddington then went on to serve three terms in the Texas legislature before being recruited by the Carter administration for key positions in the Department of Agriculture and then the White House, where she battled for the Equal Rights Amendment. According to a Times profile from her White House days:

She is a hard worker, usually arriving at the office at 7:00 a.m. and not returning home until late at night. She does most of her own housework in her two‐bedroom Washington home. She drives to and from work in a 1972 compact automobile. She finds time for friends, too, most of them Texans. She loves to square dance, eat Mexican food, go hiking and camping, and ride horses. She also likes to read, attend concerts and…discover how things work….‘I expect so much of myself,’ she said. ‘I guess I’m pretty close to being a perfectionist.’

All in a day's work for the lady who helped to kill more than 60 million unborn Americans in the United States since 1973.

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