Sarah Weddington, advocate for women’s issues, to speak at Vanderbilt, Successfully argued landmark Roe v. Wade case before U.S. Supreme Court in 1973

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sarah Weddington, a nationally known attorney and advocate for women, will speak at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday, April 6.

In 1973, at age 26, Weddington argued the winning side of Roe v. Wade before the United States Supreme Court. In its ruling, the court recognized for the first time that the constitutional right to privacy "is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy" (Roe v. Wade, 1973). Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe, later called the decision "a step that had to be taken as we go down the road toward the full emancipation of women."

Weddington’s lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Langford Auditorium on the Vanderbilt campus. Tickets are free for Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff and $10 for the general public. Tickets must be obtained prior to the event through the Sarratt Student Center box office or any TicketMaster outlet.

In addition to her longtime advocacy of women’s issues, Weddington is a pioneer among women in the fields of law and public service. She is thought to be the youngest woman ever to successfully argue a case before the Supreme Court. 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 hold that position.

From 1978 to 1981, Weddington served as an assistant to President Jimmy Carter on women’s issues and leadership outreach. In the mid-1980s, she co-chaired the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Mid-Decade Conference on Women.

The author of the best-selling book A Question of Choice, which details the Roe v. Wade case, Weddington is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her classes address issues such as gender-based discrimination and leadership in America. She also writes and travels extensively promoting the development of leadership and self-renewal skills.

Weddington’s appearance at Vanderbilt is sponsored by the student-run Vanderbilt Speakers Committee. For more news about Vanderbilt, visit

Media contact: Kara Furlong, (615) 322-NEWS

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