Statement by Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, 76th Assembly District, Manhattan, on the Passing of her Former Employer and Close Mentor “Roe vs. Wade” Attorney Sarah Weddington

The nation has truly lost one of its most iconic sheroes through the passing of Sarah Weddington, Esq. earlier today in Austin, Texas. I was blessed to serve first as an intern in Washington D. C. with Sarah; then as her assistant; and finally as the great friend of a lifetime. Following her victory in the “Roe vs Wade” case before the U.S. Supreme Court – where at the time she was the youngest attorney to win a decision – I accompanied her to numerous speeches and conferences. Sarah joined my husband Jay Hershenson and me in performing our wedding ceremony and remained a highly valued member of our family. When I lived in Texas, we would take long walks around Town Lake in Austin. One morning, we encountered a homeless man. She was wearing a burgundy coat with perfectly matching gloves. He was shivering and asked if she had a spare pair of gloves. Sarah instantly removed her own gloves, handed it over and we went on our way. This was the kindness that I constantly saw in Sarah. along with her persistent activism on behalf of women’s rights.

Sarah was an extraordinary leader, serving as a presidential advisor to President Jimmy Carter. She was a highly gifted speaker, a professor for 28 years at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Distinguished Lecturer at Texas Women’s University for 19 years. She was the first woman to be elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving for three terms. She overcame many barriers to public service and inspired audiences throughout the nation with stirring speeches and her book,” A Question of Choice”. Sarah personally asked that I write the introduction to her most recent republishing of the memoir of her Roe vs. Wade experiences. She strongly supported my election to the NYS Assembly – speaking at my inauguration in 2014 – as the first woman elected to the position on the upper east side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island. Sarah Weddington was an indefatigable warrior for the rights of women and families everywhere.