Sarah Weddington, a Texas lawyer who won the historic 1973 court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States, has died at the age of 76 at her home in Austin.
Susan Hays, a former student and coworker of Weddington’s, said she died on Sunday morning “after a series of health concerns.”
Roe v Wade is the name of the Supreme Court case.
The court justices found that governments do not have the authority to restrict abortions by a vote of seven to two.
Sarah Weddington was also a three-term member of the Texas House of Representatives in the 1970s, and later served as a women’s adviser in US President Jimmy Carter’s administration.
Weddington’s death comes as the Supreme Court looks to be on the verge of upholding a Mississippi statute prohibiting abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in situations of rape or incest.
Millions of women may lose access to abortion if a verdict is issued in June.
Anti-abortion campaigners are petitioning the court to “defend unborn children,” while scientists warn that restricting abortion will increase maternal mortality.
The court’s judgment in 1973 was based on the finding that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy fell within the 14th Amendment’s protection of freedom of personal choice in family issues.
The verdict occurred after Norma McCorvey, a 25-year-old single woman who used the pseudonym “Jane Roe” to challenge Texas’ criminal abortion statutes, which made abortion illegal except in circumstances when the mother’s life was in danger.
The anti-abortion statute was defended by Texas Attorney General Henry Wade.
The action was initially brought by Ms. McCorvey in 1969. She said she had been raped when pregnant with her third kid. However, her case was dismissed, and she was compelled to give delivery.
However, in 1973, her appeal was heard by the United States Supreme Court, where she was represented by Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, a former University of Texas classmate of Weddington’s.
Weddington was just 26 years old when she presented her case to the Supreme Court.