*Update 5/17/2011: We have just received news that Professor Sarah Weddington WILL STAY on at The University of Texas!
According to The Daily Texan, Sarah Weddington, the internationally esteemed lawyer who successfully argued for reproductive privacy rights in Roe v. Wade, as well serving as a White House Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, the first woman to represent Austin in the Texas Legislature and the first woman to hold the title of General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been laid off from her position as Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas due to harsh budget cuts. The news is quite a shock, as not only is Ms. Weddington an accomplished and internationally renowned public figure, but also according to the university's school newspaper she is very popular with students, with her classes filling up within hours of registration. Yet, budget cuts are hitting the school hard, and they are taking it out on women like Ms. Weddington and the program she works under, The Center for Women's and Gender studies (CWGS), as the university has informed CWGS that their department alone is facing a 25.9% cut totaling more than $58,000. Why do women like Sarah Weddington, who as an icon for women represents the struggle for equal rights, and programs like women's and gender studies have to bear the brunt of the budget burden?
In a time when extreme attacks on women's health are mounting, as MoveOn.org notes '916 bills aimed at women's health and their right to choose have been proposed in the last four months alone around the country'; this firing seems like another slap in the face to women not only in Texas, but to every woman who because of Sarah Weddington's courage, intelligence, and tenacity can live in a post Roe v. Wade world of reproductive freedom and for their mothers and grandmothers who wished they could.
Tell the University of Texas it is not ok to lay off Sarah Weddington, as American women and men all over, from all walks of life, value greatly her work and accomplishments with a deep respect and admiration and we hope that the University of Texas will do the same.