Dr. Bruchalski’s Conversion: Abortionist to Pro-Life Doctor
Dr. John Bruchalski is known all throughout his Northern Virginia, and through much of the United States as well, as a great pro-life OB/GYN. His medical practice, Tepeyac Family Center, operates as the largest fully pro-life OB/GYN in the nation, with 5 providers and a PA. There, women of all races, creeds, and economic statuses are welcome, whether they can pay or not. Every year, abortion minded women are welcomed in to meet their doctor, to meet the kind people that offer to deliver their baby, for no profit, just because they care.
As much as his practice will allow, Dr. John travels throughout the country to promote the practice of Christ-centered medicine, encouraging doctors and other medical professionals to follow the Christian principles that reflect the dignity of the human person and the unity of body and soul.
But it was not always so. Dr. B was an abortionist.
Raised in a devout Catholic home, Dr. Bruchalski drifted from his faith in young adulthood. He came to believe that, surely, the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexual morality would evolve toward those of the prevailing culture.
He entered from South Alabama College of Medicine in 1983 where those beliefs were strongly reinforced by the prevailing ethos of medical school. With a knack for fixing PMS and a good ability to listen and diagnose, he was drawn to obstetrics and gynecology In time, he thought, all will recognize what he and his medical colleagues knew, abortion, contraception, and sexual liberation were necessary for women to flourish. After receiving his M.D. degree 1987, he returned to Virginia to do his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Eastern Virginia Medical Center and the Jones Institute of Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk. There he practiced the full panoply of reproductive medicine: contraception, sterilization, abortion, artificial reproduction, embryo destruction; and he even developed a reputation for being very adept at late-term abortions.
But his conversion started with reflection, witnessing the effects of abortion all around him. He saw no joy or happiness for the women he aborted. All he saw from more abortion and more contraception were “more broken relationships, more infections, more destruction, more brokenness.” But he put aside these concerns, swayed by his professors’ insistence that happiness was just around the corner, awaiting better education and more of the same services.
Three “words from the Spirit” combined with his uncertainties to spark his conversion. Early in his residency, a friend convinced him to go with him to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, in Mexico City. While there he heard the clear voice of Our Lady ask him, “Why are you hurting me?” Still hard of heart, he put the question in the back of his mind, thinking maybe it was only the heat.
The second word came later in his residency. Doing a late-term abortion, he inadvertently delivered a baby over 500 grams, which by law must go to the neonatology unit. When he called the neonatologist, she sharply told him he was treating the baby as if it were a cancer turmor, and that as a doctor he must treat both woman and baby as patients. She then explained that she had just returned from Medjugorje, and suggested that he go there himself. Two days later, to his shock, his mother called up and suggested he accompany her on a trip to – where else – Medjugorje.
There, a Belgian woman told him she had a message from Our Lady for him: to be the best doctor he could be; to follow and promote the teachings of the Church, and to serve the poor daily. As he told Eric Metaxas in an exclusive interview, “the scales fell from my eyes” and it all made sense: the evils of contraception, abortion and artificial reproduction; the truth of natural law and Church teaching; the love of Jesus Christ. The course of his future was forever altered.
A conversion experience sends the converted one on mission.
Dr. John told his hospital he could no longer perform abortions, prescribe contraceptives, or do artificial reproduction. “Just keep it quiet,” his supervisor asked him, rolling his eyes, “I hope it wasn’t some religious conversion.” But he couldn’t keep Dr. B quiet. By the end of residency, many of his fellow residents had followed his lead and ceased performing abortions.
After residency he worked in a Maryland practice for two years, then felt deeply called to begin Tepeyac out of his basement in 1994, seeing women with and without insurance! Tepeyac has now been around over 20 years, faithfully serving a whole generation.
In 2000, the skyrocketing price of medical malpractice insurance forced a phone-a-thon fundraiser to keep Tepeyac’s doors open. Thus was the beginning of what would become Divine Mercy Care – a non-profit supporting the work of Tepeyac and educating the world about this form of medicine.
Both organizations continue today as a way of building a culture of life, a way of meeting people where they are, and a way of transforming hearts. Dr. B’s story reminds us all that hearts can in fact be radically transformed.
Hear the story in Dr. Bruchalski’s own way at the video below.
This video was shown when Dr. Bruchalski received the Life Hero Award in Budapest in 2017.