November 16, 2003 by

Roy Lucas


Categories: Artists, Law

Spurgeon LeRoy Lucas Jr., a civil rights attorney who helped legalize abortion in the United States, died on Nov. 3 from a heart attack. He was 61.
Lucas earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina, and a law degree from New York University. After graduation, he founded the James Madison Constitutional Law Institute, a legal organization aimed at advancing a woman’s right to have an abortion.
In 1969, Lucas filed the first abortion-rights lawsuit, a move that put him in high demand from others seeking representation. He was best known for working with a committee of attorneys on the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade.
Historians say Lucas was the first person to articulate how the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which established constitutional privacy protection for the use of birth control by married couples, could be legally extended to include a woman’s right to an abortion.
Lucas retired in 1986 in order to focus on his passion for oil painting. He spent his final years writing about painting techniques for magazines; he was doing research in Prague when he died.

2 Responses to Roy Lucas

  1. A. Davis

    Brilliant, fiesty, argumentative–oh! how he would argue with God even–but with a rapier sense of humor and such intellect…I miss his insights even tho our friendship ended on a sour note. You see, I was a woman…and I think he liked his women one step down from him. Pity…other than that fatal flaw…he was a great guy! I miss his bright mind.

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