Julie is measured, generous, and thoughtful. She is very sure of her beliefs and is willing to stand by them. She is a woman of deep conviction and love in action. If you are blessed to be one of Julie’s friends, it is not unusual to receive treasures in the mail from her at random, simply because she thought of you and wanted to brighten your day.
Julie has not always possessed such clarity about her values. In fact, she grew up in an environment of confusion and duality.
“My dad was addicted to pornography. It was everywhere in our home,” she said. “He was an ophthalmologist who restored sight to the blind. I always thought it was ironic that he was looking at such disgusting things with his own eyes.”
The pervasive presence of pornography in her home made her feel uncomfortable and unsettled as a child.
“My mother was always a proper lady. She did not dress provocatively or act inappropriately, nor did she allow me to do so,” she said. “I think my mom adored my dad and she was torn. I remember her picking up all the pornography around the house and locking it in the guest room before the cleaning lady came. It was a family secret.”
Julie’s father was also a huge supporter of NARAL.
“I think that he had to work hard to justify his actions. He argued that no one should be self-conscious, and that sex was a thing to be celebrated. He was very vocal about sex and abortion. I strongly believe that my dad’s porn addiction allowed me to go down a path that ultimately led me to the abortion clinic and the dehumanization of human beings.”
When Julie graduated high school, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and went to nursing school. After completing nursing school, Julie went right to work.
“I went to work at an ICU for a year, but after that, I was ready for an adventure,” she said. “I signed on with a traveling nursing agency. After moving to Florida and working for a while, I ended up moving to Boulder, Colorado where a friend from nursing school lived. I was looking in the paper and saw an ad for a women’s health clinic that was hiring. I called. When I arrived for the interview, I saw the big sign that said BOULDER ABORTION CLINIC. I knew exactly what it was. Given that my dad was such a champion of abortion and even volunteered at a Planned Parenthood, I had no negative thoughts.”
While Julie went into the job with her eyes wide open, what she did not know was that Dr. Warren Hern was, and unfortunately continues to be, an infamous abortionist who was zealous about his work. He has literally written books about abortion and has an abortion instrument used for late-term cases named after him, the Hern Dilator.
“Warren was a true believer,” she said. “He always went on about how there are too many people on the planet. Abortion was his mission field. He was even quoted as saying that humans are a cancer on the earth. His goal was to reduce the population of humans on planet Earth.”
Surprisingly, the culture in the clinic with her coworkers was warm and supportive.
“Everyone was professional and educated,” she said. “We all thought we were doing a good thing. Since I worked in the ICU and built a thick skin, I did not allow emotion to enter my work. We would tell ourselves and each other things like, ‘That woman would not be a good mother,’ or, ‘It would be much better if these babies went straight to Heaven.’ I allowed the devil to convince me that the women were better off aborting their babies. I can’t believe I ever thought like that.”
Hern’s clinic was and continues to be one of the only abortion clinics in the country that is willing, and in his case eager, to do late-term procedures.
“The late cases had to come in and do three days of laminaria dilation. When it was time, I would mix the urea (saline) solution. Hern withdrew as much amniotic fluid as possible from the uterus, then replaced it with urea solution, which causes breakdown of the placenta. The placenta keeps the baby alive. If it fails, the baby dies soon, starved of oxygen and nutrients. He would pull out the hypertonic fluid, which causes the placenta to pull away.” she said. “I didn’t realize until later that the babies came out purple because they had been burned by the saline. It is horrific.”
Julie did not share with her friends or family where she worked. She would simply say that she was a nurse at a women’s clinic, and everyone assumed it was an OB/GYN practice.
“I’ll never forget the time that someone told me that it must be nice working there and seeing all those babies. We never saw anyone happy.”
Julie decided to join the National Guard where she met the man who would become her husband.
“I got married and proceeded with life,” she said. “I didn’t tell him where I worked. I never told anyone. I was so ashamed. God has a great sense of humor – I ended up working in obstetrics, and I loved it. I think subconsciously, I was trying to heal myself.”
Years passed and Julie told no one her secret.
“I put it in a box. I was increasingly regretful, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I kept thinking that I wish I could find someone to talk to. I even reached out to a group of Catholic physicians. They never got back to me.”
As the internet arrived on the scene and anonymous communication became a possibility, Julie reached out in desperation in a chat room about abortion.
“I felt safe online because no one would know who I was. I asked for help. Someone mentioned Abby’s name. On one hand, I was terrified to talk to someone, on the other hand, it was such a relief.”
Julie was invited to her first healing retreat with And Then There Were None. She was apprehensive, yet hopeful about this new chapter of her life. Her main concern was that her daughters, who she raised in the church and homeschooled to try to keep them from falling into the traps she fell into, would find out her secret.
“I went on the retreat even though it was scary as hell,” she said. “I was so afraid that my teens would find out. I didn’t want them to think I was a hypocrite. I made up a story about why I was going out of town.”
Since that first healing retreat, Julie has slowly but surely accepted the forgiveness that was always available to her. While she still struggles with shame and self-condemnation, she continues to heal a little at a time through interacting with her tribe of Quitters, counseling with And Then There Were None’s therapist, and by sharing her story.
“I finally told my girls one by one,” she said. “I was so afraid. What would they think about me? They are all pro-life. They still love me, and I think they are even proud of the work I am doing now. I still feel a great deal of shame. The toughest thing for me is accepting that my slate is clean. I sometimes feel stuck.”
Julie has done some amazing work in the pro-life movement since coming into the fold at And Then There Were None. She has made it a mission to promote pro-life causes and protect life in any way possible. She has attended the March for Life and the Pro-Life Women’s Conference and spoken on panels with her fellow Quitters. Whenever she is called upon to speak, she is honored to share her story.
“I am so glad to be able to share my story. I want others to know that there is help, no matter how long you have been out of the clinic or what your abortion experience was. We don’t have to keep carrying it around. We are all works in progress.”
Today, Julie lives a peaceful life with her husband and has recently become a grandmother. She loves her family and her tribe of Quitters.
Julie also played a vital part in the movie adaptation of Abby’s book of the same name, Unplanned. Along with a former abortion clinic doctor, they reenacted an abortion for the cameras.
“I know it sounds sick, but when I saw the tools lined up as they always were, and how the room was set up identically to the procedure rooms, I just fell right back into that role.”
“I want everyone to know that there is life after these awful experiences,” she said. “God gave me a wonderful man. I was able to have children of my own, which I knew I didn’t deserve. I can’t imagine my life right now if Abby hadn’t started And Then There Were None. I have a brighter outlook on life today. I have a tribe of family who understand. I need to share my story as much as possible, because that is the only positive thing that can come from it.”
Julie’s transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. She went from secretive and living in deep shame to proclaiming her story and her forgiveness to anyone who would listen. She shares a farm full of horses, goats, chickens, and her beloved cats with her loving husband. She sees her grandchildren often and volunteers as a camp nurse whenever possible. She is very connected to her family, her church, and her tribe of Quitters.
“If you are a former or current abortion clinic worker and are on the fence about contacting And Then There Were None, please do so,” Julie urges. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is so unhealthy to keep all that shame inside. To have that non-judgmental person on the other end of the line is everything. There is no other group like And Then There Were None. It will open your life and give you a new future. You will not regret it.”