This weekend I helped with the TN state oratory contest as a room moderator. I always enjoy listening to the teens original speeches on the life issue. Another volunteer in attendance was Judy Charest. I have heard her testimony many times but each time I hear something else that stands out.
Judy's heartbreaking testimony is of being forced as a 16 year old in 1972 to under a late salt saline solution abortion by her step father is very moving . She describes that her life following the forced abortion spiraled out of control and was self destructive in many ways. After years of therapy she wanted to do something to honor the life of the son she lost on that fateful day. Read her amazing story here.
Never active in pro life matters previously she found TN Right to Life by surfing the Internet and emailed a question that ended up being answered by the president of TN RTL. This led to a meeting and subsequent discussions and the end resulted in a plan of action for her to become involved...in a public way that could honor the brief life of her son she named David and give him a voice.
She decided to lobby with TN RTL for a bill mandating every abortion facility post a sign in the waiting area advising that it was illegal in TN for anyone, regardless of age, to be forced to have an abortion against her will. This has always been the law but women and girls are not informed of this since informed consent is not a law in TN. Post abortive women have stated they have been forced to make an abortion decision by their boyfriends, parents or husbands. The abortion industry fought against this simple act of informing women of their rights showing how prevalent it is and potentially cuts into their profits.
It certainly was a bold step to share what had been a family secret before legislators and committee members but with each step Judy became bolder and stronger. The bill became law in 2010. Judy became vigilant in walking into abortion mills to see if the sign was properly displayed. One such facility under observation was the Women's Center in Nashville that is located just three doors down from a pregnancy resource center. So what good does one sign do??
Just last week a young girl was brought to the Women's Center to have an abortion against her will by her mother. She thought she had no rights as a minor but saw the sign informing her of her rights under the law. She got up and ran out of the center to speak the the people praying outside. She wanted help and they directed her to the pregnancy resource center up the street. There she was able to receive and see a free ultrasound of her baby boy. She was also able to find out about resources available to her in choosing life for her baby.
Judy had the honor of reporting that this one sign resulted in giving this baby boy a voice.....and through him her son's voice will be heard.