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Friday, September 20th, 2019Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 10:21:15 AM

How I Got In. How I Left.

By: Julie Wilkinson

Back in 1984, left a dysfunctional relationship with my boyfriend in Florida, and decided to move to Boulder, Colorado, where a girlfriend from our Wisconsin nursing school now lived. I was unfamiliar with the area, and there were no day positions at the local hospital. I was not comfortable with a commute to Denver for night-shift jobs. Then I saw an ad in the paper:

Nurse needed: Family Planning Clinic-Boulder

I interviewed, found out they also did abortions. Abortion was something I never felt I would ever have, but I rationalized that all the abused babies and children were better off going to heaven than being born and suffering if they were unwanted. I was raised a Christian and still considered myself one, mind you. I attended church rarely. I don’t remember sanctity of life ever being talked about when I was young, although the mostly Catholic small town I grew up in did. I remember in highschool when a Catholic close friend told me that she was pregnant. Abortion had been legal a couple years at that time. I casually asked her if she would have an abortion. She immediately answered “No! That would be murder.” I was a bit taken aback, and dropped the subject.

At my interview for this job, the abortion doctor questioned me closely. He had had threats made to his clinic in the past, including finding a bullet hole in the window of the clinic once. I reassured him that I was comfortable with abortion. So I was hired, and my training began. Another nurse taught me how to do gynecological exams to estimate the size of the uterus. We used terms like tangerine, orange, and grapefruit. (It is always important to depersonalize the life you intend to end.) Later, I learned how to assist the doctor during early “procedures” up to 10-12 weeks. That is what we called abortions. I opened sterile instrument packs, handed instruments, and turned on suction, making sure the cover was on the suction jar. I held the hand of nervous patients. He actually maintained acceptable medical standards. After the “procedure” I would take the covered jar to a small room where a person waited to go through the pieces of a tiny person to be sure they were all there, nothing left behind.

After a few weeks, I was taught how to assist with late cases, 13-24 weeks. Those took three days total. At that time after dilating the cervix for two days, on the 3rd day we I would have sterile instruments to the doctor, so that he could withdraw amniotic fluid from the uterus and replace it with a concentrated urea (salt) solution, which by the way I was responsible to mixing. He said that it caused the placenta to separate from the uterus, resulting in the fetus dying. The truth was, the babies suffered terribly in the salt solution, their fragile skin and lungs burned. Generally the woman’s body would begin to labor. I would check with a doppler ultrasound for a fetal heartbeat. When it was gone, the doctor would start to remove the baby, usually in pieces.

One time, a married, successful couple came in to visit the clinic. They wanted a child, but found out at 16 weeks that she was carrying twins. They were not sure if twins would fit into their lifestyle. They were looking at all the options…visiting friends or acquaintances with twins, to see how hard life would be with twins, and if they decided it was too hard, they visited an abortion clinic to see what that option would entail. Even for those of us working there, that was a troubling situation. But it was not troubling for the doctor, who a couple weeks later helped her abort her healthy babies – who did not fit her lifestyle.

After a couple years, I believe the Holy Spirit was nudging me. I was dating a man whose mother asked where I worked. I said “a womens’ clinic.” She answered “How wonderful it must be to be around all the mothers and babies.” No, it wasn’t wonderful. I had a lot of friends at that clinic. It was all women, except the doctor. They were my friends and we supported each other. But occasionally I would listen to Focus on the Family with Dr James Dobson. He was so prolife he irritated me. But I listened. I finally left the clinic for work in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit. I saw babies there the same size as the ones I saw in steel pans at the abortion clinic. But it was not an overnight heart change for me. It took time to change years of a certain belief in a woman’s “right to choose.” I grew very ashamed, even though I knew I was forgiven in Christ. After I left Boulder, I never told people what I had done there. I got married, and we had three beautiful daughters, but I did not tell them. I just made sure they were raised to be prolife. It felt very lonely for a very long time to keep that dreadful secret.

I would search online occasionally for a support group for former workers, but never found one. A few years ago, I responded anonymously on a prolife blog, and another person told me I should reach out to Abby Johnson. So I did, and eventually was able to attend a retreat. We are a small, generally invisible group of people, we former abortion clinic workers. We are passionately prolife, we have seen it from the inside, and we know the truth. As our daughters each reached the age I felt appropriate, I told them about my past. By the grace of God they did not condemn me.

In the last couple years, I have gathered my courage and decided to speak publicly. I had a walk on part in Gosnell, and I play my real life role as an abortion nurse in a small but pivotal scene in the movie Unplanned (the story of former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson), due to be released March 29. I also gave my testimony at the annual fundraiser for the Gateway Women’s Resource Center in Yukon, Oklahoma, in November 2018.

I thank God for not giving up on me.

Julie Wilkinson was born in Oklahoma City 1958 and grew up in Wisconsin. She graduated from nursing school as an RN in 1981. She has worked in ICU, NICU, OB, as well as an unfortunate stint in an abortion facility. Served five years in the Air National Guard. She returned to Oklahoma in 1996 with her husband Bill (married 31 years). They have three adult daughters that were homeschooled.

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