Sarah Weddington

Sarah Weddington


At twenty-six, Sarah Weddington successfully argued the landmark Roe v. Wade case before the Supreme Court. Dr. Weddington has always been a leader and a pioneer. She served as one of the first female representatives in the Texas State Legislature and was a special assistant to President Carter.


Sarah Weddington is a nationally known attorney and spokesperson on leadership and public issues. Her experience and charisma make her a highly sought-after speaker. She is particularly well known for her work on issues affecting women through her many roles as an attorney, legislator, presidential advisor, professor, and expert called upon by the national media. In 1973, at age 27, she argued the winning side of the landmark case Roe v. Wade before the United States Supreme Court. She is thought to be the youngest woman ever to win a case in the Supreme Court. She has recently been involved in promoting the development of leadership and self-renewal skills.

Weddington has been a longtime advocate for women. In 1972, she was the first woman from Austin elected to the Texas House of Representatives. She served three terms before becoming the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s general counsel in 1977, the first woman to ever hold that position.

From 1978 to 1981, Weddington served as assistant to the president of the United States. She was designated by President Carter to direct the administration’s work on women’s issues and leadership outreach. She also directed White House efforts to extend the time for ratification of the ERA, and to assist in the selection of women for federal judiciary appointments. She co-chaired the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Mid-Decade Conference on Women in Copenhagen, and implemented other programs to ensure the equal treatment of women in the military in securing business loans and in social programs. As the first woman director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations from 1983 to 1985, she was the chief lobbyist in Washington, D.C., for the state.

Weddington is the author of the best-seller, A Question of Choice, which details the Roe v. Wade case. Her interview with former First Ladies Johnson, Ford, and Carter on "Women and the Constitution" appeared in Good Housekeeping. For a number of years, she wrote a regular column for Glamour magazine. She is a founding member of the Foundation for Women's Resources, and has been integral in all its activities, including the Leadership Texas and Leadership America programs, and the creation of The Women’s Museum, which opened in September 2000 in Dallas. At the University of Texas at Austin, where she is an adjunct associate professor, she is shaping a new generation of leaders in her classes “Gender-Based Discrimination” and “Leadership in America.” She also writes and travels extensively, speaking on women's issues and the development of leadership skills. She is currently working on her next book on the topic of leadership and self-renewal.

Time magazine named her one of the “Outstanding Young American Leaders.” Ladies Home Journal presented her with its “Woman of the Future” award. She was selected as one of the ten “Outstanding Women in America,” and Esquire magazine recognized her in 1984 as an “American Under 40 Making Things Happen.” She has been featured in Working Woman, People Magazine, and the Washington Post, and has been a guest on the Today show, Good Morning America, CNN, and the CBS Morning News.

Weddington has received numerous honors and awards. In 1980, she received the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Margaret Sanger Award, its highest honor. In 1992, the National Association for Campus Activities named her "Speaker of the Year." In 1993, the National Council of Jewish Women presented her with the prestigious "Woman Who Dares" award, and she was given the Woman of Distinction Award from the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. In 1995, she was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa Society, the National Leadership Honor Society. In 1996, she received the Colby Award for Public Service by Sigma Kappa Sorority.

In 2000, Texas Lawyer named her as "One of the Most Influential Lawyers of the 20th Century," and the Houston Chronicle named her as one of "The Tallest Texans--Those Who Left Their Mark on Texas and the Rest of the World in the Twentieth Century." In 1999, she was honored as a “Texas Woman of the Century” by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas, named a “Face of the Century” by the San Antonio Express-News, and featured for her “Courage to Challenge” in Women of Courage: Inspiring Stories from the Women Who Lived Them by Katherine Martin. In 1998, she received the "Hummingbird Award" from Leadership America and McMurry University's "Trailblazer Award."

Weddington holds honorary doctorates from McMurry University, Hamilton College, Austin College, Southwestern University, and Nova Southeastern University. She received her JD degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1967, and is a distinguished alumna of McMurry University.


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