Judy Madsen Johnson’s Legacy

Jun 6, 2018

ORLANDO, FL -- Judy Madsen Johnson, a remarkable Christian and pro-life advocate who for decades was a voice for the pre-born, succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

In 1994, Judy was one of two petitioners in the U.S. Supreme Court case known as Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc., in which Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel challenged portions of a court-imposed buffer zone around an abortion clinic in Melbourne, Florida. This was the first buffer zone case ever considered by the High Court. The other petitioner in the case represented by Liberty Counsel was Ed Martin, who earlier this year also succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Two pro-life giants graduated to heaven in the same year.

While the Supreme Court upheld a limited buffer zone around the entrance to the clinic, the Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the buffer zone that banned images which could be seen from inside the clinic and also struck down the 300-foot buffer zone around the clinic and anyone associated with the clinic. The ruling came to be known as the “Madsen test.” Subsequent cases have relied upon the “Madsen test” to strike down other buffer zones imposed by courts or by ordinances.

“Judy Madsen Johnson’s case helped shape the law on the First Amendment. Her case set precedent for speech restrictive buffer zones,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Judy volunteered as a pro-life sidewalk counselor, taught volunteers, served on advisory councils and adoption agency boards, and emceed pro-life fundraisers. She co-founded The True Majority and Women Speaking for Women, and was as a pro-life and pro-family advocate at U.N. Conferences in Beijing, Istanbul and New York City. Judy also published a newspaper, “Voices of the True Majority” and authored three books, including “Fascinating Women, Living by Faith,” which includes Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver’s personal story.

“Judy Madsen Johnson held a special place for Anita and me, and we will miss her,” said Staver. “Judy exuded a sweet and gentle spirit. She loved God and loved people and was a tireless advocate for the defenseless pre-born children. She used to wear the little baby's feet pin on her clothes to remind her of their struggle. Because of her passion for protecting life and women, Liberty Counsel had the privilege to represent her before the Supreme Court in 1994. This was my first oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result of her case creating the ‘Madsen test,' many buffer zones have been struck down, thus allowing pro-life counselors the opportunity to save the lives of many children and women. While our loss is heaven’s gain, Judy’s legacy will ripple through eternity,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.