A 1977 demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women.
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q&a / justice

Roe v. Wade Lawyer 'Amazed' Americans Still Fighting Over Abortion

On the 45th anniversary of the famous decision, Sarah Weddington reflects on what has – and hasn't – changed.
How does this anniversary feel compared to past landmark anniversaries?

When I started the case, the research in 1969, if anybody had said, ‘You will still be talking about this in 45 years,’ I would not have believed that. And so what I’m most amazed at is how long the issue has still been at the center of a lot of political conversations, because if I look back at the case that dealt with contraception decided in 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut, my memory is it took a few years for people to come to a general agreement that government wasn’t going to get to decide whether they could use birth control. [I thought] it would be some years before people sort of came to a common agreement that it was not the government’s business to decide women’s reproductive freedom. I’ve been surprised at how long it has really taken.

I don’t know how long it will take, but at some point, I’m not going to be willing to keep talking to anyone who asks me to do an interview. There’s a point at which you just get tired of that. It takes up a lot of my time, which, of course, is always pro bono. I did the case for free. At some point I am just tired of doing it, but I think the issue is so important. Soon, a younger generation, younger women and men in law school, are going to have to take on that responsibility.
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