Roe v. Wade lawyer discusses case at U

Sarah Weddington, who represented Roe in the Roe v. Wade case, also spoke about how women’s rights have evolved.

Ryan Dionne

The attorney who successfully argued Roe v. Wade more than 30 years ago spoke Wednesday about women’s rights and leadership issues.

Sarah Weddington presented part of the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion in the United States and is considered a landmark for women’s rights.

“It’s a very significant decision affecting the lives of women,” said Claire Walter-Marchetti, the Office for University Women director. “(Weddington) broke a lot of barriers.”

Approximately 150 people attended Weddington’s speech in the Willey Hall auditorium.

Weddington spoke during Women’s History Month, but attracted opposing views.

“Us pro-lifers have heard this rhetoric over and over again,” said Anne Billion, a political science and Spanish/Portuguese studies sophomore who had said she might go to the event.

Some University students said they were happy to hear Weddington speak about abortion-rights advocacy and women’s issues.

“I think it’s a really important time to recall that decision and bring it back to the public eye,” said Diane Detournay, a member of the Women’s Student Activist Collective.

Although it is an issue of debate, University student Chris Hill said he does not think President George W. Bush will attempt to overturn the decision in hopes of capturing votes from anti-abortion supporters.

“I don’t think he’s going to do anything drastic between now and the election, but I hope he does,” said Hill, who was wearing an “abortion is homicide” T-shirt.

Weddington said she thinks there is a chance the case will be overturned if Bush is re-elected.

During her speech, Weddington also addressed how women’s rights have evolved since she grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

At that time, women could only play basketball on half the court so they would not overexert themselves, she said. If they dribbled more than twice, they would be called for traveling, she said.

Weddington said she was constantly told, “Women don’t, women can’t, women shouldn’t.” But she said now “women do, women can, women should.”

Among other accomplishments, Weddington assisted former President Jimmy Carter on women’s issues, served on the Texas State Legislature, was the general counselor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and wrote a book titled “A Question of Choice,” which discusses the Roe v. Wade case.