Dr. John Bruchalski is an OB/GYN in Fairfax, Virginia, who cares about women and children, which is why, after undergoing a radical transformation and path to conviction, he pivoted from killing babies in the womb to saving them. Ever since he opened his own life-affirming practice more than 25 years ago, Bruchalski has saved the lives of hundreds of them.
Despite years of work in the medical field and promoting pro-life medicine, Bruchalski wasn’t always a life-championing physician. Toward the end of his medical residency, Bruchalski dismembered babies in the womb well into the third trimester.
Bruchalski grew up in a “very prayerful” Polish family and attended Catholic school, so being pro-life was not foreign to him. He still remembers when his father, a civics teacher, lamented the day the Supreme Court discovered a so-called right to abortion in the 14th Amendment through Roe v. Wade.
“He was just brokenhearted because he really thought we were a city on a hill and they just legalized something that was so demonstrably unjust and unkind,” Bruchalski told The Federalist, recounting that his family would pray regularly for “the fall of abortion.”
When Bruchalski went to college, his perspective changed. He was around female friends who said if he wanted to go into medicine, he needed to show that he cared about his patients and their decisions.
“Ideologically, I thought I was pro-choice because I didn’t have foundation or formation. My formation and foundation were in situational relativized ethics,” Bruchalski said. “I was never like, ‘Women need the right to abort babies.’ I just thought that if I wanted to be a good doctor, I had to [support that].”
Bruchalski knew he wanted to help people but eventually switched from studying family practice to studying to become an obstetrician-gynecologist. It was during his residency that he first encountered his first round of questionable medical practices.
“As an OB, you contracept somebody from 12 to 50. And you then put them on hormones from 50 to 80. And you take them off only to have children when they’re wanted. And you don’t worry about all the social issues involved because women become patient autonomous, which is the foundation of bioethics and medicine at the time. The Hippocratic Oath was being kind of molested and pushed aside and retracted. So I ended up doing all sorts of things. Everybody has a right to their own beliefs because of patient autonomy, and I’m just a vending machine. I have to provide what they give you out of justice, out of beneficence, out of nonmaleficence.”
An Alarming Double Standard
Part of his job included performing abortions, sometimes on babies diagnosed in utero with dangerous diseases.
“When I got to my residency, I was beginning to abort first, second, and even third trimester mostly because of illness or the threat of illness,” Bruchalski said.
Other abortions were because the mothers were scared. Bruchalski recalled one time he was asked to end the life of an unborn baby based on an unmarried woman’s fear that her child might be the 1 in 10,000 children who are born with Down syndrome.
“So I took out a 19-week, almost one-pound child that had no Down syndrome,” Bruchalski said.
After two years of abortions, Bruchalski began to question whether the “medical care” he was offering was really the merciful, healing care he thought women and babies deserved.
“It was psychotic. In one room, I’m trying to save a child because the mother wanted it. In the other room, I had to get rid of a child that the woman, the mom didn’t want,” he said.
Bruchalski began to feel that something scientific and something spiritual was missing from the way he was practicing medicine. After more data on abortion finally started to surface, Bruchalski realized “abortion is not as good as [he] thought it was.”
“That was my introduction to myths and misinformation [about abortion] back in the ’80s,” he said.
The real turning point in his decision to become a pro-life doctor, however, came after one of his colleagues, a neonatologist who worked in the NICU, gently but bluntly pointed out that he was treating unborn babies like tumors. Bruchalski said that was the first person who ever challenged him to think about abortion and when life begins.
By that time, Bruchalski had already started putting in nights at a pregnancy center in Virginia Beach. That’s where he realized there’s much more to caring for women and babies than what he was doing during the days of his residency.
“I was already doing kind of Planned Parenthood stuff in my residency so I wanted to see what the other side was like, I guess. I grew up as a Christian,” Bruchalski said. “They loved these women. They found them. They provided answers for the reasons why the woman felt coerced. There was no proselytizing, per se. There’s just something deeper. That’s how I interpreted it. And they were giving excellent medical advice.”
It wasn’t long before Bruchalski realized abortion is not a prerequisite for excellent care. And that’s when his idea to start a life-affirming clinic was born.
Much More than Science
Tepeyac OB/GYN, Bruchalski’s OB/GYN practice, was born out of the doctor’s conviction that “my morality, my bioethics is based on human dignity.”
According to Bruchalski, the doctors and staff at Tepeyac feel the same duty he does and are equipped with a perinatal hospice, operations, and other resources designed to “treat all patients as individuals wholly in body, soul, and spirit.”
“We integrate the family into the treatment of our patients because one builds on the other, and this is healthy for society,” the website states. “We cooperate with fertility because it is a natural, healthy function, and not a disease to be repressed. Children are gifts, and therefore joys. We affirm your children in their dignity as temples of the Holy Spirit, encouraging healthy opportunities in physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. We welcome all patients including the physically, emotionally, spiritually or financially underserved.”
Bruchalski also founded Divine Mercy Care, an organization that collects aid for life-affirming medical practices like his and pregnancy centers that know that medicine that deals with a “body, soul, and spirit” is more than a business and a science.
“Medicine is an act of mercy, but the world says and medicine says mercy is really mercy-killing,” Bruchalski said. “…We never pit mom against baby.”
Ever since November, an autoimmune disease left Bruchalski with chronic pain in his right arm that forced him to step away from patient work and operations. Even with that setback, Bruchalski doesn’t believe his work is done. As president of Divine Mercy Care, Bruchalski is still promoting life-affirming care every chance he gets and encouraging a new generation of pro-life doctors who don’t choose abortion over saving lives.
“I want to build bridges and I really want to encourage the next generation because remember, with all the threats that come down from our American College of OB/GYN about, ‘Oh, you can’t get licensed if you don’t toe the line on abortion.’ This issue of abortion is the new virus. If you don’t toe the party line, you will be punished,” Bruchalski said.