Page 15


Editorial and -Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. 7-143$0.71 proscribe abortion during that period except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” This tripartite approach to pregnancy is a judicial originality. There has been some mention of “cut-off” points in previous decisions for example, the state of New York fixed on the 24th week because many fetal deformities cannot be detected until that point. But the three-stage decision, like Nixon’s economic program, seems as much a response to pragmatic considerations as one of adherence to principle. Weddington, who had thought she would either win or lose the case by a one-vote margin, is now convinced that the best course for the states is to do nothing at all. She will presumably have some influence in this area since she is a member of the Texas House of Representatives. At last check, no legislator had introduced any abortion legislation, although there were rumors that there might be some. But in fact, most politicians dislike nothing more than having to vote on such things there is no way they can come out without losing support. Many of them not only dread the prospect, they have a positive phobia about it. Weddington herself is something rather special. Although she feels she was not able to relate well to the Solid Rock League, if one can feature any abortion reformer ever getting along with that group, it would be Weddington. She is, to use an old-fashioned term frowned on by Women’s Lib, a lady, a perfect lady. She is grave, graceful and composed. “It’s not that Sarah doesn’t have a sense of humor,” said Ann Richards, an Austin housewife who was part of Weddington’s campaign braintrust. “It’s just that you gotta prep her a little. You say, ‘Now, Sarah, I’m about to tell you a funny story,’ and then she’ll just laugh and enjoy it as much as anyone. But you gotta warn her first, because it just doesn’t occur to her that someone might throw in a joke in the middle of serious business.” WEDDINGTON was recently mousetrapped in this regard by that nefarious jokester Cactus Pryor, who was preparing his annual spoof for the Headliners Club. Weddington, along with several dames of importance, was invited to pass preview judgment on a proposed new addition to a well-known Austin restaurant. The women were told that the restaurateur planned to open a Women’s Only section featuring topless waiters, two of whom then appeared and showed their impressive torsos to the group. Most of the other political wives in the group got off with a noncommittal, “Oh, my, my” reaction. But ol’ Sarah gravely launched into a lecture to the restaurateur, assuring him that while she meant no insult to these very nice-looking young men, nevertheless, she had never approved of Men Only sections and . . . The episode was being filmed for use at the Headliners. Weddington has a unique family background for a small-town Texas girl. Her daddy has a Ph.D. and her mother a master’s. Her father, for many years a Methodist preacher in a series of small Texas towns, is now head of the Methodist youth program for this state. Weddington skipped a couple of grades of public school and so graduated from McMurray College in Abilene, magna cum laude, at the age of 19. She was certified to teach high school English and speech, but her practice teaching sessions convinced her that she wasn’t cut out to be a teacher. She looked around, and because higher education was an accepted thing in her family, had no hesitation about entering law school, which she finished at about the age most students complete their undergraduate work. She became interested in the Women’s Movement during her senior year in law school. She practiced briefly in Fort Worth and came back to Austin to open a practice with her husband Ron. Ron Weddington, who is also from Abilene, had spent several years in the service and so graduated from law school a few years after Sarah. According to law school friends, Ron was the outgoing, social Weddington, while Sarah’s natural reserve and relative unsophistication made her a quieter, less party-going type. “I had never even been to a party where liquor was served until after I graduated from college,” said the minister’s, daughter. On one famous occasion, she got annoyed with Ron and decided to “show him.” She forthwith got extremely drunk and subsequently quite sick. “I don’t think you even noticed,” she said to her husband with some asperity. “Not notice?!” protested Ron. “Hell, honey, I had to pour you into the car.” known to over-indulge. WEDDINGTON and her law school classmate Linda Coffee started doing spadework on Texas’ abortion law as a result of their interest in feminism. When Jane Roe came to Coffee, Weddington volunteered to serve as co-counsel. The James Madison Constitutional Law EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Molly Ivins ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Ferguson EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger REVIEW EDITOR Steve Barthelme Contributing Editors: Winston Bode, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Sue Horn Estes, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman ‘Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. Sullivan, Tom Sutherland. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with her. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that she agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1973 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXV, No. 3 Feb. 16, 1973 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. BUSINESS STAFF Sarah Boardman Joe Espinosa Jr. C. R. Olofson David Sharpe The Observer is published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Single copy, 25c. One year, $7.00; two years, $13.00; three years. $18.00; plus, for Texas addresses, 5% sales tax. Foreign, except APO/FPO, 50c additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. Change of Address: Please give old and new address, including zip codes, and allow two weeks. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701.