What happens when an abortionist becomes a pro-lifer?
If there is anyone who should value the life of the unborn, one would think that it would be the very doctors who fight so hard to help women have healthy pregnancies. However, OB/GYNs are taught that abortion is good medicine and that in order to be a ‘good’ doctor, they must offer them to their patients.
Dr. John Bruchalski grew up in a Christian home, where he was raised in a pro-life family. However, as he went to college and then medical school, he shares that he, “became more concerned about what my friends thought of me, especially my female friends, who said that they needed abortion for freedom and choice.”
These two worlds clashed one night when in one room Dr. Bruchalski was trying to save a 22-week baby because the mother wanted it while in another room he was trying to abort a 22-week baby because the mother didn’t want it. As he was completing the abortion, one of his fellow OB/GYNs came into the room and said, “Stop treating my patients as tumors.” After this experience, he shares, “I began to realize or see that genetics, embryology, what science really says about the human life matters, and it was her courageous witness alongside the medical data — abortion and breast cancer, abortion and pre-term labor, abortion and mental illness, abortion and suicide — and then she began to get me back to prayer again.”
Dr. Bruchalski ends by sharing about his organizations, Divine Mercy Care and Tepeyac OB/GYN, and the work they are doing to show medical students that abortion is not healthcare. “Medicine is an act of mercy, and health is relational. And relational means conversational, both with those in your community, in your family, but also with our Lord and Savior.”
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Police Matters. The North Carolina Family Policy Council for years was honored to have on our board of directors a beloved OB/GYN out of Greenville, North Carolina, Dr. Dick Douglas, who went to be with the Lord in August. And he was passionate in his defense of the pre-born, but that was not always the case. He gave a testimony on video once about his sudden realization that an aborted child is a human baby, and it changed his life.
Well, I always wanted to dig deeper into that transformation, but we never did. Well, Dr. John Bruchalski had a similar transformation in thinking, and he wrote a book about it, “Two Patients: My Conversion from Abortion to Life-Affirming Care.” And we are excited to say he’s here to discuss what that meant in his life and his occupation.
Dr. John Bruchalski, welcome to Family Policy Matters.
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: Hi, Traci. I’m coming from your northern neighbor, the great Commonwealth of Virginia, and I, too, had a deep respect and love for Dick Douglas.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Yeah. All right. Well, let’s talk about how you, then, went, first of all, from being raised in a pro-life home to being an abortion doctor.
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: Even though I was grounded in scripture and prayer and the love of the Lord and his love for us, I, basically, was given over to education. And during my high school and college, everything became muddied, chaos, confused, and relativized, and I over time became more concerned about what my friends thought of me, especially my female friends, who said that they needed abortion for freedom and choice. And I just became lukewarm in that, and when you unmoor mercy and medicine and health from truth and light and life, back in the forties, it led to the gas chambers. And, sadly, today it leads to the abortion clinic.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So it’s interesting that you mentioned that your friends had quite an influence on the way you felt in your early days, but it was a particular friend or colleague that made you reconsider.
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: Yes, absolutely. You go from the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom to the fear of your friends is the beginning of being exiled. And so I was a person pleaser at the time, rather than following where my mind and heart were. But there I was one night I was in one room trying to save the life of a 22-week-old baby because the mother wanted it. In the very next room, I tried to end the life of the same-aged fetus because the mother didn’t it and it dumped out of her body because I forced it out. And I, rather than suffocate it for whatever reason, I threw it on a scale. And lo and behold I had to call the neonatal doctors, those high-risk little baby doctors. And Dr. Debbie Plum comes walking in the door and says, hey, stop treating my patients as tumors. That pierced me. Now, if you believe I was working at a pregnancy center at night under an evangelical church. During the day, I was being a good OB/GYN resident and every third night on all being a good OB/GYN resident because, remember, abortion is considered good medicine. And that cognitive dissonance, that fracturing of myself, was what I think she tapped into. And I really respected her, and then she said, oh, by the way my life was changed through prayer. You need to get back on track, son, because there are two patients that you take care of, and you really need to be aware of that. And she challenged me. It was her reason and faith and her medical practice and her heart that really — it was heart-to-heart, Traci. It was how conversion happens.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: What was that like for you? I mean you just described it, and it’s pretty incredible, but tell us about what it looked like as far as your perspective and how you saw people and patients from that point.
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: So patient autonomy was jammed down our throat by our professors because that’s the foundation of abortion right. The patient desires to end her pregnancy maybe against or because you really agree with her, but don’t worry about that. Leave our conscience at home because conscience and faith are private. They’re not meant to be shared. So, therefore, shut up, drop it off at the door, enter the medical realm, and wear patient autonomy because you’re a vending machine. You have to either provide access — that’s what the word “access” means – it’s you need to provide her with every service she wants because it’s good for her. Well, I began to see in that moment that I was beginning to judge. Now, I was a social liberal. I believed in diversity. I believed in respecting everyone’s — well, all of the sudden we don’t judge another person’s worth because some other person of the same human family didn’t want it.
And I began to realize or see that genetics, embryology, what science really says about the human life matter, and it was her courageous witness alongside the medical data — abortion and breast cancer, abortion and pre-term labor, abortion and mental illness, abortion and suicide — and then she began to get me back to prayer again. So it was not just a witness. It was not just the data, but it was also the realization that God is the god of everything, both science and reason. And Scripture is spot on, children are considered gifts. We were known by him from before the darkness. That one instance was one of those moments because I had given my life to the Lord but I was just interpreting the world the way I thought it should be interpreted. That was a problem.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Right. So once you saw this in the medical status quo at that time, that prompted you to pioneer a different approach to reproductive medicine, didn’t it? What did that look like?
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: Absolutely right, and it’s called reproductive healthcare because all of our patients have become consumers. And so the question becomes is the fetus your property or your child? Now, that goes anywhere from fertilization all the way to natural death, and so because they’re a part of the human family, genetically, wholistically, integratedly, and if some of us believe in a body and a soul and what happens is that they’re at unity. And that reason should support science and science should support reason and they should support your faith because they all go together, what happens is that practice excellent medicine, see the least of your brothers and sisters daily — social justice — and, oh, by the way follow what you find in Scripture and tradition. And it was without a shadow of a doubt that when I came off that experience of deep prayer and meeting the Lord, so to speak, face to face, as well as meeting Debbie Plum face to face and knowing all the good people who are abortionists face to face, I realized that medicine is an act of mercy.
And so Tepeyac OB/GYN is a not-for-profit, we’re an alms house, we beg from our community, to care for the least because we don’t want to go to the government for that because they force you to do things out of your conscience. And so you break the status quo by applying good medicine, excellent medicine, even to the hardest cases. You never pit mom against baby, ever. It’s bad psychology. It’s bad anthropology. It’s bad Scripture. It’s bad in medicine, and that’s what I find reproductive health does. It supports women with abortion rights and destroys mothers with child, and it does that over and over. So at our practice, we see the under-served right next to senators and authors and all of these people who have means, and we pray with patients when appropriate. We believe in serving the least and accompanying them through their suffering because suffering is meant to be cared for, eliminated when you can, but when not, to see the deeper meanings because Romans 8:28 and Colossians 1:24 really matter. And so it’s also excellent medicine. It’s how the pain that abortion tries to relieve in their euphemisms occur before the abortion happen. The abortion just compounds the problem rather than fix the problem, and that’s why Tepeyac OB/GYN provided a whole different way to the status quo.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So let’s talk about. Medical students or people who are considering going into medicine. I’ve actually heard them be advised from other Christian leaders that this is not a time you even want to go into medicine because of how difficult it is to live out your faith, but I’m hearing some hope from you that it’s possible. So talk to them if you would.
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: Oh, Traci, it absolutely is, and I just got back from a weekend in Omaha speaking to some medical students out there and doctors of all persuasions. So, first off, let’s just say for the believer who wants to enter medicine, or especially OB/GYN, with all due respect, if you’ve been called by the Lord in your prayer life reading the word, you would be disobedient no matter what your mother says that you shouldn’t enter the profession right now. We need you. The world is trying, the city of man or woman, as the case may be, is trying to push you out of OB/GYN because, hey, if you disagree with us on abortion, go into another field. Are you kidding me? That sounds like stuff from the 1920s. If you’re Jewish, you shouldn’t participate in society. Give me a break. How dare you. But if you’re a believer, number one, it’s real simple — are you obedient to what you’re hearing in your prayer? Because I do believe God is raising up leaders in medicine this way.
If you don’t believe in God and you are out there and you’re just doing medicine because your daddy did it or your cousin did it or you think you are interested in that part of the science, the question you must ask is, hey, man if — or woman — if abortion is so good, why don’t more of us do it? What’s the disjunct there? It’s the brutality of the procedure. We are idealogues on the right and the left, and it’s too easy to spew words that mean — that are kind of cheap. Do you really live what you believe? Scripture is filled with being filled or being emptied, and works won’t save you but they definitely are a sign of what you believe about keeping commandments. And so I challenge both sides to be honest with themselves, and as you so eloquently said, yeah, pull the plank out of your own eye because this is not fear based. You are beloved. For us believers we are beloved, we are loved, and that’s the only reason why we can love others and love our neighbors and serve the least of Matthew 25. It’s good for society. It’s good for the public square because we were meant for these times, and this has been this way ever since the beginning of time, right? Nothing has changed. It’s the believers that help fashion through God’s power and God’s grace and God’s will and God’s love work, and sometimes you do get yelled at and callinated and mocked, and sometimes you plant seeds, water, or reap. And I just — once again, it’s about transforming hearts through medicine, and I believe in your audience, especially with your focus, you reach those folks on the side of life. And I’m grateful for this opportunity, Ms. Traci, I really am.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, I wish we could continue, but we are about out of time. Dr. John Bruchalski, where can our listeners go to learn more about your work and to get a copy of your new book, “Two Patients: My Conversion from Abortion to Life-Affirming Care”?
JOHN BRUCHALSKI: They can go to any place that you buy books, including Amazon. You can also go to Ignatius.com, or the website that we have is TwoPatients.com. I am now president of DivineMercyCare.org. You can go there, or TepeyacOBGYN.com. That’s the medical practice, and Divine Mercy Care is the instrument where we raise alms for Tepeyac. But we also talk to people across the country about a not-for-profit model of healthcare where you can see the served and the under-served in your daily walk. And, lastly, Divine Mercy Care is now helping doctors and medical students and residents and just people of good will to see that you don’t need abortion for healthcare at all. And, really, medicine is an act of mercy, and heath is relational. And relational means conversational, both with those in your community, in your family, but also with our Lord and Savior.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thank you so much. Dr. John Bruchalski, thanks for joining us today on Family Policy Matters.
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