Title

ROE V. WADE, 25 YEARS LATER: ANALYSIS BY THE LEAD ATTORNEY FOR JANE ROE IN THE LANDMARK ABORTION CASE

Abstract

Wednesday, September 16, 1998

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172

ROE V. WADE, 25 YEARS LATER: ANALYSIS BY THE LEAD ATTORNEY FOR JANE ROE IN THE LANDMARK ABORTION CASE

ATHENS, Ga. -- Twenty-five years ago, a young, up-and-coming female attorney stood before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued a case which would fuel protests and shape public policy for years to come: Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. On September 23, that attorney - Sarah Weddington, now a professor at the University of Texas - will analyze the landmark case in the University of Georgia School of Law's 17th annual Edith House Lecture. The speech, to be held at 3:30 p.m. in the University Chapel, is open free to the public.

Weddington, thought to be the youngest woman ever to win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, had only been out of law school six years when she appeared before the high court to represent "Jane Roe," a Texas woman seeking the right to terminate a pregnancy. Weddington had graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and had been certified by the State Bar of Texas as a family law specialist. She details the case in her first book, A Question of Choice.

"We are thrilled that Professor Weddington has agreed to speak at our lecture," said Katy Lewis, 1st vice president of the Women Law Students Association and lecture organizer. "Roe v. Wade has reshaped women's lives for a generation. We anticipate an excellent lecture which will be compelling for the entire community, not merely the law school."

The Edith House Lecture Series, hosted annually by the Women Law Students Association (WLSA), is named for one of the first female graduates of the University of Georgia School of Law. A native of Winder, Georgia, House was co-valedictorian of the law class of 1925, the first class to graduate women. She practiced law for 38 years and became assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and acting U.S. attorney for the district.

This year's Edith House lecturer is nationally known for her legal work and government service. Following her law school graduation, Weddington served as the reporter for the American Bar Foundation Special Committee on the Reevaluation of Ethical Standards, the committee that wrote the "Code of Professional Responsibility" adopted by the American Bar Association and many state bar organizations. In 1972, she became the first woman elected from Austin, the state capital, to the Texas House of Representatives. She served three terms before going to Washington, D.C., to serve as general counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture.

From 1978 to 1981, Weddington was an assistant to President Jimmy Carter, directing the administration's work on women's issues and appointments. She also served as chief federal lobbyist for the state of Texas from 1983 to 1985. She has been appointed by the American Bar Association to numerous leadership posts and has received many honors, including the "Woman Who Dares Award" from the National Council of Jewish Women in 1993 and Planned Parenthood's highest honor in 1980, the "Margaret Sanger Award."

Weddington, an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin, teaches a class on gender-based discrimination. She writes and travels extensively and is currently working on a new book encouraging participation in public and civic activities, tentatively titled The Power of One.

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