A Virginia ex-abortionist has a strong message for women who are struggling with the regret and trauma of having an abortion as well as physicians who have performed abortions – no one is beyond the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God.
Dr. John Bruchalski, M.D., had no problem ending the lives of unborn babies if it was what his patient wanted. After all, he says he learned in medical school that "truth was relative" and science was the higher power.
"I was really good at listening, and back then the idea was that elective abortion on demand was the way to bring women freedom," he told CBN News. "Ultimately, children were sexually transmitted diseases."
"I participated in all the aspects of OB/GYN, back then, but abortion through all three trimesters was a part of it," Bruchalski added.
The now 62-year-old says he was pro-choice, but he did not grow up that way.
In fact, Bruchalski grew up in a Christian home with pro-life parents who prayed for him daily.
Although he understood early on that life began at conception, that changed when he attended medical school in the late 1980s.
"I was going along with the status quo. It was only through God's mercy that He came into my misery at the time and rescued me," he shared.
He explains it all changed one year when facts, friends, and faith collided.
"During my first two years, as I was doing the abortion I began to realize that you really have to 'steel' your heart. You had to take a deep breath in. In the early, early, early abortions it wasn't that bad. But as the fetus got older you had to count body parts to make sure the uterus was emptied and constantly doing that as part of your training, I really began to feel that it was hardening my heart," he said.
That experience coupled with newly released studies that linked abortion to mental illness, pre-term labor, and breast cancer caused Dr. Bruchalski to question what he was doing.
He began to realize "it wasn't as good as people really thought it was."
He also began attending a local church and started following the work of a local pregnancy center.
"I was beginning to go back to church, I was beginning to have a relationship with Christ, I was beginning to see how women and men really cared for the whole person especially when a woman was in a crisis pregnancy, but during the day I was back at my medical residency learning how to end a pregnancy and that children were STDs."
It was a dynamic that caused internal conflict for the young doctor.
Then, everything changed one day when Dr. Bruchalski had two patients, both 22 weeks pregnant.
"[I was] on labor and delivery [and] in one room because the mother wanted the child, I did everything I could to save this baby at about 22 weeks. The baby weighed about a pound, I was doing everything I could because the baby was wanted," he said.
"In the very next room, I was aborting a baby because at the same age the mom didn't want it. It was unwanted so I just broke the water and emptied her uterus," Bruchalski explained.
Then, the abortion didn't go as planned.
"When that fetus, baby, delivered in that abortion, it was alive. And so I threw it on a scale and the baby weighed more than 500 grams, which made me have to call the NICU to come and get this baby. Can you imagine that I tried to abort this child, but then had to call the nursery in to save it," he recalled.
At that moment, a young neonatologist who came to save the baby said something to John that stopped him in his tracks.
"Stop treating these babies like they're tumors," she said. "You're better than that. You're a good physician."
Dr. Bruchalski told CBN News she challenged his faith, his medical care, and his stance on abortion, over a cup of coffee the very next day.
It prompted him to seek the Lord about what he was doing. Shortly after, he attended a spiritual retreat to answer some hard questions.
"My whole life came tumbling down. I came face to face, in prayer, with the mercy of Jesus Christ and his open wound that he poured everything out of," he expressed. "I came back a different man."
Dr. Bruchalski came back from that retreat and told his professors and colleagues that he got saved and could no longer perform abortions.
And while one of his professors supported his decision, he cautioned the young doctor against sharing his faith with others.
But that advice didn't stick. "Faith is not meant for you to be private about it. It's a part of who you are, it's a part of your relationships," he said. "I had to at least talk to people about it, and lo and behold, that's what happened."
"Many of my resident friends stopped doing abortions during that period," Bruchalski shared.
Four years later, the young doctor and his wife opened the Tepeyac OB/GYN and Divine Mercy Care in northern Virginia with the mission of "providing excellent, life-affirming care to women."
"In the last 50 years, we have lived a Roe-OB/GYN world where elective abortion was always needed," he told CBN News. "[But] we have been able to, for 28 years, combine the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus [and share] that you don't need to resort to elective abortions for any aspect of good healthcare."
"You can be merciful the way that Jesus was merciful and you learn to teach and instruct your patients and other doctors," Bruchalski added. "You just have a way of being an instrument for the love of Jesus."
Dr. Bruchalski said he wants to not only share the story of his conversion but also wants to give medical students and doctors the courage to stand up against the medical status quo and say yes to practicing life-affirming medicine.
In his new book, Two Patients: My Conversion from Abortion to Life-Affirming Medicine, Dr. Bruchalski does just that.
The world seems to be in a mess. Medicine is broken. The big lie in OB/GYN is that elective abortion is good," he stated. "Abortion is violent disruption between the intimacy between a mom and her unborn child [and it] has lasting consequences. Even though we try to 'replace mom with child' with a 'women's right to abortion', the words may have changed, but the reality is still there."
He adds society is now hearing from women who had abortions 40 or 50 years ago because it "takes that long for that pain and that regret to show up."
"Early on we defend ourselves and say, 'It's the best thing it could be, we did our best, I had no choice, I'm so glad I had it.' But as the years roll on, they tell you, 'My child would have been 17 today,' or 'My child would have been 26'," said Bruchalski.
"The doctors and the nurses are also post-abortal, meaning we get angry," he continued. "We realize that what we were doing was probably not the best, especially if we've been in the Word and found other physicians who can share with us the blessings that they've received by practicing medicine in a way that does not include elective abortion."
Bruchalski says he ultimately wants to honor the dignity of the unborn, heal the mistrust in the medical community, and point abortion doctors and women who have had abortions to Jesus.
"I want to use it as a point of hope and a tale of God loving on us and pursuing us to health, wholeness, and holiness," he expressed.
"No one is beyond the mercy of God," he added.
Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.