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The lawyer who successfully argued Roe v. Wade has died at 76

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Sarah Weddington has died. Her career as a lawyer included one of the most famous court cases of the past half-century. Weddington was 26, fresh out of law school, when she helped to represent a woman known as Jane Roe.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That was the pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who asserted her right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade. Weddington recalls the heart of the Supreme Court ruling in 1973.

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SARAH WEDDINGTON: It was basically that there was a right of privacy that made it possible for women to make the decision about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

MARTINEZ: Weddington died yesterday at her home in Texas at 76. The news arrives as the Supreme Court considers a challenge to that famous ruling.

INSKEEP: Few years ago, Weddington told NPR that a conservative majority of justices on the high court could arrive at a new conclusion, and she speculated on what the justices might say.

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WEDDINGTON: The language is not in the Constitution, and so it doesn't really exist. It was made up by the justices at the time. There's also a possibility they would say, well, it still allows the states to legislate in whatever way they want to.

MARTINEZ: And Weddington said if that precedent is reversed, the implications are wider.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

WEDDINGTON: Privacy is not meant to be a one-state deal. It's meant to be the basis for people living in all the United States.

MARTINEZ: Weddington's last public stand for abortion rights was two years ago.

INSKEEP: She attended the signing ceremony for a New York law that is designed to safeguard abortion rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

(SOUNDBITE OF RE:PLUS' "MOONSCAPE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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