Roe v. Wade Lawyer Calls Presidential Election "Critical

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Portsmouth, NH ( - Sarah Weddington, the Texas attorney, who successfully argued the Roe V Wade case before the U.S. Supreme Court, told Friday, she considers the upcoming quest for the White House as critical to the long-term future of the court edict, which legalized abortion.

Weddington made her comments in an interview with, prior to a luncheon sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Weddington, who argued the case when she was 27 years old and is now a professor at the University of Texas, told the nearly 200 abortion advocates, the next president is likely to appoint at least two members to the high court, with the anticipated resignation of that many justices, following the presidential election.

Weddington said she believes Chief Justice William Renhquist is most likely to retire, while Justice Paul Stevens, diagnosed with prostrate cancer, is probably second in line.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, currently hospitalized with colon cancer will, according to Weddington, "stay on as long as she can," while Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, recovering from breast cancer, has hopes of being named Chief Justice, should a Republican capture the White House and is unlikely to resign.

Asked to characterize the long and short-term future of Roe V. Wade, Weddington told the long-term future depends on the outcome of the presidential election and warned a Republican victory could see the historic verdict overturned.

As for the short term, Weddington said, "There are not now the votes to overturn it on the court."

Citing the high court's current makeup, Weddington insisted the long term future of Roe V. Wade has consistently eroded as membership on the court has changed, since 1972, when seven of the nine judges voted to make abortion legal.

Friday, Weddington said Justices Renhquist, Scalia and Thomas favor its repeal, while Justices Ginsburg, Stevens and Breyer favor retention. The remainder should be consider swing votes, who could go either way. Therefore, who becomes the next president is "a continuing concern."

Asked if she regarded partial birth or late term abortions as "acts of infanticide," Weddington said she does not and insisted late term abortions are sought only when there is "a pressing health issue."

"A woman won't seek it out unless it involves her health or life. Women won't wait that long."

While declining to comment on any of the presidential aspirants, Republican or Democrat, Weddington characterized GOP hopefuls as "in a box," when it comes to abortion.

Weddington insisted each of the GOP hopefuls must appeal to the party's conservative base in an effort to be nominated and added, "But in the general election, they must reach out to other voters, a majority of who want to keep abortion legal."

Asked if she agreed with Texas Gov. George Bush and his unwillingness to impose an abortion related litmus test on Supreme Court nominees, Weddington said the test means little and added, "I'm more concerned about who his advisors will be and whom he will appoint as attorney general."

Weddington insisted Bush will not make the mistake of Patrick J. Buchanan who she characterized as having the ability to "motivate the opposition," including herself.

According to Weddington, building a pro-choice political base has become more difficult because younger women "take the option for granted...they don't remember the horror stories."

Weddington also denied the frequency and numbers of abortions have made the procedure just another form of birth control.