The lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade presents a compelling memoir of her handling of that seminal 1973 Supreme Court case--into...


A QUESTION OF CHOICE: The Lawyer Who Won Roe v. Wade

The lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade presents a compelling memoir of her handling of that seminal 1973 Supreme Court case--into which she artlessly weaves her own biography; a history of the abortion-rights struggle; and an idealistic call to combat political and judicial forces that seek to narrow or overturn Roe. Roe v. Wade has been condemned as a raw exercise in judicial policy-making, and as lacking an explicit basis in the Constitution, but for Weddington it represents the fulfillment of a fundamental constitutional right. The case's genesis was astonishingly humble and personal: Weddington became passionately committed to the struggle for abortion rights as a young woman who bad to go to Mexico for an abortion in order to elude rigid antiabortion laws in Texas. The litigation began as an explicit act of social engineering. Bringing a class action as a young lawyer who bad never argued a contested ease, Weddington began at the district-court level by arguing in part. that the resoning in the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut--which found a constitutional right to privacy in striking down a Connecticut law banning contraceptives--should apply to invalidate the restrictive abortion law in Texas. Weddington gives the reader enough legal analysis to understand the reasoning behind Roe, but her primary focus isn't on the arcana of constitutional law, but on what she views as the elemental nature of abortion rights and the meaning of such rights for American women. She recounts her own prominent post-Roe role in Democratic party politics, and discusses subsequent Supreme Court abortion-rights eases. Her account culminates in professions of concern for the future of abortion rights and in a ""Plan for Action,"" in which she makes specific suggestions for political activism. Weddington preaches to the converted, and inadequately addresses legal objections to Roe, but she gives valuable, passionate insights into the significance of that historic case.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 1992


Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grosset/Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992