Dr. John Bruchalski has practiced obstetrics and gynecology since 1987…. Bruchalski began his career practicing the full range of “reproductive medicine,” including abortions. But he experienced a profound conversion of heart following a live birth during a late-term abortion procedure, and resolved to practice a different kind of medicine, founding in 1994 the Tepeyac OB/GYN practice in Northern Virginia that supports fertility counseling, natural family planning, and support for families that have received an adverse prenatal diagnosis for their child.
He spoke to Charlie Camosy about “life-affirming” medicine, treating both the mother and her child as patients, and how he, as a doctor, sees some of the hardest of hard cases which have become flashpoints in the post-Dobbs debate.
How does one go from being an OB/GYN who performed abortions to giving talks at pro-life conferences?
Meaningful relationships, science, and grace.
Only by the mercy of Christ and my parents’ persistent rosary intercession for their son (Polish through and through) do I believe I came back to Christ and quit abortions.
From college to the middle of my OB/GYN residency, I was seduced by the new opium of the liberated: elective abortion on demand. I went along with the popular ideas of the time: that contraception, IVF, and abortion would liberate women from the chains of their fertility–those chains being the physical, emotional, and financial burden of childbearing. Modern gynecology residency programs embody these ideas, and I went along with them during my training. I performed elective abortions, many for medical reasons — spina bifida, hydropcephalus, chromosomal abnormalities.
During this time, a few important things happened. I was drawn to the medical testimony of famous geneticist Jerome Lejeune, who testified in a court case that IVF embryos were human based on the fact they contain all the genetic makeup of humans.
I began to think more about when life began and how a fertilized egg is one of us, part of the human family. I also befriended pro-life colleagues volunteers at a pregnancy center. But I was living a double life. I was volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center in the evening and performing elective abortions at the hospital when patients presented with this desire.
That period in my life was bookended by two vivid, spiritual experiences. I heard an audible voice while visiting Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City ask, “Why are you hurting me?” – which I promptly blew off.
Then one day in the hospital, I was trying to save one patient’s unborn baby in one room and terminate another pregnancy in the next — which is a cognitive dissonance many OB/GYNS face when they are treating two similar cases so vastly differently based on the wantedness of the unborn baby. A NICU doctor called me out for treating the unwanted babies as tumors. That caught my attention, and the coffee and conversation we shared afterward was quite influential in my heart softening.
The closing bookend occurred later on Podbrdo hill in Medjugorje, when I received a message from Christ and his Mother during prayer: “Medicine is an act of mercy. Be an excellent physician. Serve the least daily. Follow the teachings on doctrine and morals of my Son’s Church regarding your profession. My Son will renew you and medicine….”
The above comes from an August 5 story in The Pillar