Dr. Bruchalski’s Conversion: Abortionist to Pro-Life Doctor

Dr. John Bruchalski is known throughout Northern Virginia and much of the United States as a great pro-life OB/GYN.  His medical practice, Tepeyac OB/GYN, operates as the largest fully pro-life OB/GYN in the nation, with five providers and a midwife.  Tepeyac is a nonprofit, caring for women of all races, creeds, and economic statuses, whether or not they can pay. Dr. Bruchalski takes time from Tepeyac to travel throughout the country promoting the practice of Christ-centered medicine. He encourages doctors and other medical professionals to follow Christian principles that reflect the dignity of the human person and the unity of body and soul.

But it was not always so. Once upon a time, Tepeyac OB/GYN’s founder was an abortionist.

Raised in a devout Catholic home, Dr. Bruchalski drifted from his faith in young adulthood.  He came to believe that the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexual morality would evolve toward those of the prevailing culture. In 1983, he entered the South Alabama College of Medicine, where his beliefs were strongly reinforced by the reigning ethos of medical school.  With a knack for treating PMS and a strong ability to listen and diagnose, he was drawn to obstetrics and gynecology.  In time, he thought, all would recognize that abortion, contraception, and sexual liberation were necessary for women to flourish.

After receiving his M.D. degree in 1987, he returned to Virginia for 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 range of reproductive medicine: contraception, sterilization, abortion, artificial reproduction, embryo destruction, and even developed a reputation for being very adept at late-term abortions.

His conversion began in reflection as he witnessed the effects of abortion all around him.  Far from achieving joy or happiness, the women he aborted or equipped with contraceptives displayed only “more broken relationships, more infections, more destruction, more brokenness.”  At first 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 fuel his conversion.  Early in his residency, he accompanied a friend to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, in Mexico City.  While there he heard the clear voice of a woman ask him, “Why are you hurting me?” Still hard of heart, he concluded that his perceptions had been affected by the heat and put the question in the back of his mind.

Later in his residency, during a late-term abortion, he inadvertently delivered a baby weighing over 500 grams. By law, it had to be sent to the neonatology unit.  When he called the neonatologist, she sharply told him he was treating the baby as if it were a cancerous tumor, and that as a doctor he must treat both woman and baby as patients. Adding that she had just returned from Medjugorje, she suggested that he go there himself.  Two days later, to his shock, his mother phoned and suggested he accompany her on a trip to – where else? – Medjugorje.

There, a Belgian woman visionary told him she had a message from Our Lady for him. He was 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 a mission.  

Returned from Medjugorje, Dr. Bruchalski told his hospital he could no longer perform abortions, prescribe contraceptives, or deal in artificial reproduction. “Just keep it quiet,” his supervisor told him, rolling his eyes, “I hope it wasn’t some religious conversion.” Dr. Bruchalski didn’t keep quiet. More and more of his fellow residents followed his lead and ceased performing abortions.

After residency and two years of work in a Maryland practice, he felt strongly called to establish a practice of his own design. He began Tepeyac Family Center (now Tepeyac OB/GYN) in his basement in 1994, caring for insured and uninsured women alike. Tepeyac, now age 25 and counting, has faithfully served an entire generation.

In 2000, the skyrocketing price of medical malpractice insurance prompted a phone-a-thon fundraiser to keep Tepeyac’s doors open. Thus began what would become Divine Mercy Care–a non-profit organization supporting Tepeyac’s work and educating the world about pro-life medicine. Both organizations continue to build a culture of life, to meet people where they are, and to transform hearts. Dr. Bruchalski’s story reminds us all that hearts can in fact be radically transformed.

Hear the story in his own words in the video below.

This video was shown when Dr. Bruchalski received the Life Hero Award in Budapest in 2017.