Former abortionist now head of one of the largest pro-life medical practices in the U.S.
FAIRFAX, Virginia, March 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - This week the pro-life community celebrated the life of the great Dr. Bernard Nathanson, famed for his dramatic conversion from a leading abortionist to a stalwart and outspoken advocate for children in the womb.
Dr. Nathanson’s passing reminds us of the powerful testimony of the dozens of doctors who have left the squalor of their abortion facilities and committed themselves to life-giving and authentic health care.
Dr. John Bruchalski is one of these doctors. A former abortionist in his ob/gyn residency, the 50-year-old Virginia native has now become a leading light in pro-life medicine. Through his unique Tepeyac Family Center, one of the largest free-standing pro-life medical practices in the country, Dr. Bruchalski’s team offers a safe haven for women in crisis pregnancies, spreading hope through authentic health care that respects the natural processes of the woman’s body, the right to life of the unborn child, and the eternal end of the mother’s soul.
“How do you combine the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus Christ? That’s what we’re about,” he told LifeSiteNews.
‘More abortion, more destruction’
Though raised in a devout Catholic family, Bruchalski says he began his exit from the faith when he left for Catholic college. There, he was taken in by professors and friends who claimed that the Catholic Church can change with the culture - that its teachings on divorce, homosexual marriage, abortion, and contraception would eventually conform to the pervading cultural values.
“It became a non-issue - you could still be a great Catholic and choose to dissent from particular Church teachings,” he said.
By the time he entered medical school in 1983 at the University of South Alabama, contraception and abortion seemed to him “the way to promote health and happiness and wholeness in a woman’s reproductive life.” Aiming to be the best gynecologist he could, he learned the different methods for abortion, sterilization, and artificial reproduction, and began providing them during residency.
But he began to have doubts. “I didn’t see happiness or joy in my clinics,” he explained. “Wherever I had more abortion, more contraception, there were more broken relationships, more infections, more destruction, more brokenness.”
“I didn’t know what to do because the professors were saying ‘Well, we just need more education, more contraception, more abortion to answer these questions,’” he added.
‘A better way to practice medicine’
Bruchalski first felt the call back to the faith of his childhood right before beginning his residency, when a friend convinced him to take a trip to Guadalupe in Mexico City. He says there he heard Our Lady of Guadalupe - whom Catholics revere as the patroness of the unborn - ask him, “Why are you hurting me?”
Yet he wasn’t ready to respond. “I kind of put that in the back of my mind,” he said.
Then two years later, between the 2nd and 3rd year of residency, his mother took him on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where many Catholics believe Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, has been appearing since 1981.
He says the pilgrimage reawakened the great love for Christ and Mary that his parents had nurtured in him during his childhood. “It was the simplicity of the messages of getting back to conversion,” he explained. “And then I had an experience there with a young woman from Belgium who was there praying for the pro-life cause. She told me she had a message for me about Our Lady and began telling me things about my life.”
“It was life changing for me.”
When he got home, he told his professor that he could no longer commit abortions or sterilizations, though he expressed shame to LifeSiteNews that it took him a year to fully extricate himself from these anti-life procedures.
He began reading the works of Pope John Paul II, particularly the pope’s landmark addresses on the theology of the body. He learned about natural family planning under the mentoring of Dr. Thomas Hilgers, the Couple to Couple League, Mercedes Wilson and Family of the Americas, and Dr. Hannah Klaus. And he studied the exciting advances in natural reproductive technology pioneered by Dr. Hilgers, who founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska.
“When I came home, I was given the grace not only to see myself as I really was - you know, my whole life passed before me - but I actually saw that ... there was a better way to practice medicine,” he explained. “The approach to reproductive health was the polar opposite to what Planned Parenthood was saying. That’s what Our Lady told me my role was going to be.”
Creating a loving atmosphere where abortion becomes unthinkable
He put that vision of medicine into practice in 1994 when he founded the Tepeyac Family Center with his wife in the basement of his house. The obstetric and gynecological medical facility now boasts six pro-life physicians and one nurse practitioner.
Based on a Catholic vision of health care, the Center promotes health practices that respect the natural rhythm of the woman’s cycle and the sanctity of human life. They advocate natural family planning as opposed to contraceptives, and in cases of infertility they focus on treating the underlying causes rather than using assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization.
“We believe that health is based on the relationships found in community, and we believe that if we love enough in medicine we can create a loving atmosphere where abortion becomes unthinkable,” he said. “Almost like an abortion-free zone.”
“Our approach is that we hate the disease but love the patient, especially the weakest of our brothers and sisters,” he added.
They are the only practice in the country offering full obstetrical care for patients from crisis pregnancy centers, and they have a special dedication to welcoming the poor. Of the over 700 babies they delivered in 2009, 30% of the mothers did not have commercial insurance.
“As we tried to be a for-profit practice, ... the Blessed Mother kept saying, ‘You must see the poor in your daily life to be rewarded,’” Dr. Bruchalski said. “It’s one thing to try to be a pro-life practice, it’s another thing to try to see the poor in your pro-life practice.”
“The renewal of medicine is going to involve both social justice - seeing the poor - and the Gospel of life. It’s both/and, not either/or,” he said. “You can’t be an NFP-only doctor. You must serve the underserved. And if you serve the underserved, in order to provide excellent cooperative medicine that treats the disease but loves the patient you have to have the basis for natural family planning in your practice.”
The Tepeyac Family Center now operates under an umbrella organization called Divine Mercy Care, which raises funds and heightens awareness through educational programs. Their network of services includes a perinatal hospice, and in coming years they hope to offer a family practice, pediatric care, and a mental health program.
“Ideally, we would like to be a city on a hill, where you have a multi-specialty group that is dedicated to the healing and the wholeness and the healthiness of the human person in body, soul, and spirit,” he explained. “A medical facility and a medical system where the human person is respected as he’s made in the image and likeness of our God.”
Though their services are available to people of any creed or culture, he said they believe that through medicine they can offer patients “the happiness, and wholeness, and healthiness that comes with coming to a deeper sense of the sacred in their own life.”
Offering hope for life with a child
Dr. Bruchalski said his experience working with abortion-minded women has shown him the need to focus on offering women hope for life with their child, rather than emphasizing adoption or images of fetal development.
“You can show women fetal development and many of them it doesn’t phase,” he said. “Remember the fetus, the baby, the unborn child is an adversary to the woman, it’s going to cramp her life.”
Abortion-minded women see adoption, on the other hand, as a “double negative,” he says. “Not only are you not qualified to be a mother and care for the child, but you have to give the child up,” he explained. “They hate that choice, so for them the abortion becomes the best alternative, the least terrible of those options.”
“You really have to focus on [the fact] that there is life after having a child, that there is a way out of your predicament,” he said. “Just meeting women where they are by being able to listen to their pain and their agony and their suffering, and then love them so much that we walk them through this.”
Practicing the theology of the body
The Center has a special focus on implementing John Paul II’s theology of the body, which Dr. Bruchalski says was “revolutionary for relationships, for medicine, and for families.”
He said one’s approach to medicine is profoundly impacted “if you believe that the story in Genesis is real and that we were created in the image and likeness of God, and that men and women are complementary - that we were not meant to be alone - and that our bodies speak a language to us, our actions, and that to love God and to love neighbor is what we’ve been called to do.”
“The theology of the body in medicine means that you cooperate with the body, you don’t repress it,” he explained. “You focus on health, not disease. You don’t treat desires, you treat the disease. You don’t treat people like products. ... You don’t try to go to the best doctor who creates the healthiest babies with the best techniques. Because we’re more than products, we’re people.”
“We are just now developing the wording and the language of translating [the theology of the body] from the religious and the anthropological to the medical and the scientific,” he added.
Spreading the Gospel of life in medicine
Divine Mercy Care hopes to inspire and mentor other health care professionals to take up the Gospel of life in their practice. In February and March Bruchalski’s spending two weeks on a speaking tour to 22 medical schools in 19 states with Medical Students for Life.
“At the heart, abortion is a medical procedure,” he said. “We need to inspire doctors to step out in faith and become the men and women that God’s called them to be.”
His conversion experience shows that “no one is beyond God’s mercy, no one, no one,” he said. “I was doing the abortions because I believed it was the lesser of two evils, ... yet I realized that people were just more broken after the procedure. There might have been a brief respite from the stress and strain, but most relationships broke up after the abortion.”
“The mercy of God was what truly penetrated my heart.”
Find more information on Divine Mercy Care and the Tepeyac Family Center here.
Kim Davis defeats ACLU attempt to force her to violate her conscience
ROWAN COUNTY, Kentucky, February 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - A federal judge has turned down the ACLU's attempt to force Kim Davis to violate her conscience while issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Although Governor Matt Bevin granted a religious accommodation for the county clerk to issue altered marriage licenses to homosexuals, the ACLU brought a lawsuit seeking to force Davis to issue the old forms with her full name on them.
"There is absolutely no reason that this case went so far without reasonable people respecting and accommodating Kim Davis' First Amendment rights," said Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, who is defending Davis. "Today's ruling by Judge Bunning rejected the ACLU's request to hold Kim Davis in contempt of court."
Kim Davis is a born again Apostolic Christian who refuses to issue marriage licenses bearing her name to homosexuals, because doing so would imply her consent and participation in something the Bible deems sinful. "It's a Heaven or Hell decision," she said. Davis contacted state legislators and former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, seeking a religious accommodation that would alter the form but allow her office to recognize gay unions, to no avail.
Ultimately, she spent six days in jail last September after Judge Bunning held her in contempt of court for refusing to issue the unamended forms.
"Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office," Senator Ted Cruz said after her arrest.
When she was released last September 8, presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Cruz showed up to wish her well.
"Lock me up" in Kim Davis' place, Mike Huckabee said. "Let Kim go."
When Davis returned to work last September 14, she allowed other employees to grant new certificates that did not have her name on them.
Deputy Rowan County Clerk Brian Mason said that Davis “confiscated all the original forms, and provided a changed form which deletes all mentions of the County, fills in one of the blanks that would otherwise be the County with the Court’s styling, deletes her name, deletes all of the deputy clerk references, and in place of deputy clerk types in the name of Brian Mason, and has him initial rather than sign.”
Matt Bevin, the Republican who would be elected governor that November, promptly granted Davis an accommodation and signed the first new regulation on abortion in a dozen years shortly after taking office.
But the ACLU sued to force Davis to issue the old certificates, anyway. Judge Bunning wrote that would be unnecessary.
"There is every reason to believe that any altered licenses issued between September 14, 2015, and September 20, 2015, would be recognized as valid under Kentucky law, making re-issuance unnecessary," wrote Judge David Bunning, a Republican whose father Jim Bunning, was a baseball great and former U.S. senator. "Under these circumstances, the court finds that Plaintiffs’ request for relief is now moot."
Since returning to work, Davis has met with Pope Francis and attended President Obama's last State of the Union address.
"From the beginning we have said the ACLU is not interested in marriage licenses. They want Kim Davis' scalp," Staver said. "They want to force her to violate her conscience. I am glad the court rejected this bully tactic."
Black pastors pray over ‘president-to-be’ Clinton right before she condemns pro-life bill
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – After pastors invoked God's blessing upon her presidential run, Hillary Clinton condemned legislation to protect babies in the womb.
The African-American ministers "laid hands" on Clinton and prayed to "decree and declare the favor of the Lord" upon Clinton, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Bernie Sanders for the Democrat nomination for president.
"President-to-Be Clinton, we decree and declare from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet that the favor of the Lord will surround you like a shield, in Jesus's name," they prayed, at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.
The Clinton campaign proceeded to vigorously oppose proposed legislation in Oklahoma designed to save pre-born babies.
Oklahoman Thomas Hunter filed for a petition to change the state constitution so that it prohibits any action "that causes the death of an unborn human being" – whether abortion or post-conception "contraception."
Clinton campaign senior adviser Maya Harris came out vehemently against putting Hunter's petition on the state's ballot, calling it "unconstitutional" and "bad for the health of Oklahoma women."
Speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign, Harris said, "This initiative petition should be challenged and, if it makes it on the ballot, rejected by Oklahomans."
Reaction to the two contradictory acts – the religious blessing and the condemnation of pro-life legislation – was swift and strong among African-American ministers.
"It is shameful to see clergy abandon the principles of the faith and engage in such heretical political pandering," the Reverend Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr. told LifeSiteNews. "These clergy represent the problem the church has in the clarity of its message and the demonstration of its worth."
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"There was a time when the church was very powerful – in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed," Rev. Childress, founder of Black Genocide, told LifeSiteNews. "In those days, the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society."
"So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound," Rev. Childress concluded. "So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo."
"Abortion remains the number-one killer of black Americans, higher than all other causes of death combined," Pastor Arnold M. Culbreath, a founding member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. "Therefore, it is absolutely critical that blacks become informed, equipped, and provided with resources to end the abortion-related genocide occurring in our communities every day."
"With Hillary Clinton's extreme and consistent pro-abortion views and actions," Pastor Culbreath asserted, "it is a travesty that pastors would be more focused on laying hands on her, rather than challenging her views with credible research and making her aware of the devastating impact abortion is having on black babies, mothers, and families across America. Black lives depend on it!"
"We have the most anti-life president in office now, because Christians put him there," Pastor Walter and Darleen Moss told LifeSiteNews in a joint statement. "Will Christians continue to ignore what may be the most significant issue of the coming presidency – the issue of life?"
"If black lives matter, do black lives matter in the womb?" the Mosses asked. "The greatest curse on this nation results from the shedding of innocent blood from the womb. How can we advance if we keep killing our children?"
Then the Mosses spoke to African-American clergy who toe the Democrat party line. "If these good pastors read their Bibles, they would know that it clearly says, 'Jesus is the LIFE.' Therefore, is not pro-abortion anti-life and anti-Christ? Are we not made in the image of God? Does He not know us in the womb?"
"Pastors may be close to, if not at, apostasy to continue to endorse any candidate who endorses the murder of our children," the Mosses concluded. "That would include Hillary Clinton, a champion for eugenics and Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, the number-one killer of our babies in the USA and around the world through the United Nations."
Rev. Childress quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. against "Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's insidious alliance with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry": "'Racial discrimination ... relegates persons to the status of things. ... It is a tragic expression of man's spiritual degeneracy and moral bankruptcy.' So it is not surprising to see Hillary Clinton's negative response to recognizing infants as persons and not things."
Hunter's proposed amendment to the Oklahoma constitution would also ban "the deliberate destruction of unborn human beings created in a laboratory."
Hunter, who filed the constitutional petition in Oklahoma, explained to the Tulsa World, "The question is whether or not the Supreme Court ruling that born people have the right to kill unborn people was, in fact, constitutional in the first place."
Gov. Christie, killing rape-conceived babies (like me!) is NOT self-defense
February 9, 2016 (Savethe1) -- Children conceived in rape – like me – took a beating at the GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire Saturday evening. Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Jeb Bush had some harsh words regarding the treatment of the innocent child conceived in rape, and I think their rhetoric demonstrates that they're not really committed to ending abortion, but merely doing the bare minimum to win votes from those who identify as pro-life.
For starters, Gov. Christie said, “I believe that if a woman has been raped, that is a pregnancy that she should be able to terminate.” What does he mean by “terminate”? It may come as a surprise to many of you, but I voluntarily terminated three of my pregnancies. My daughters are doing quite well now, after having labor induced. You see, you can terminate a pregnancy and still have a live baby. Normally delivery of a baby is the termination of a pregnancy. Inducing labor or performing a C-section is the premature termination of a pregnancy. But that’s not what Christie is talking about, is it? He’s talking about the termination where you have a dead baby – because he or she is killed. So what he’s saying is that my birthmother – a woman who had been raped – should have been able to kill me. Ouch! That’s not pro-life.
Then he went on to say, “The fact is that we have always believed, as has Ronald Reagan, that we have self defense for women who have been raped and impregnated because of it or been victims of incest and been impregnated for it.” Since he used the tactic of invoking President Reagan, let’s take a look at what Reagan actually said:
Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making, of course, an exception where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother. Our Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the right of taking a life in self-defense. But with that one exception, let us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt. I pledge to you tonight I will work to remove barriers to adoption and extend full sharing in family life to millions of Americans so that children who need homes can be welcomed to families who want them and love them. – Ronald Reagan, State of the Union address, January, 1988
If you’re going to invoke Reagan to bolster your position, you’d better be sure you got that right. But in case mischaracterizing Reagan’s position wasn’t bad enough, Gov. Christie outdid himself with his next statement: “I believe that they do not have to deliver that child if they believe that is an act of self defense by terminating that pregnancy.” “An act of self-defense?!” This is the kind of rhetoric you hear from abortion rights advocates – suggesting that the innocent preborn child is somehow continuing to rape the woman, and therefore, she needs to kill the baby to stop the rape. Gov. Christie, since you recognize my right as a woman to engage in an act of self defense, let me clear up your confusion: I was NOT raping my birthmother! I was not attacking her. I was innocent. I’m pleading my innocence! So here’s my advice to you – punish rapists, not babies. It’s not a difficult concept. This is my act of self defense – quit picking on innocent children like me by suggesting our lives weren’t worth living or protecting, because I fight back and I will defend my life!
Since his remarks Saturday evening, I’ve been inundated with suggestions from people that I need to talk to him and to share my story with him – just like with Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich four years ago when I changed their hearts during their presidential campaigns. Well, I DID share my story with Chris Christie, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida in August, 2012. But he’s a different character and hard-hearted. Like in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew Chapter 13, the seeds did not fall on fertile soil. But then Jesus explained:
This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.”
As if the shots from Chris Christie weren’t enough to dehumanize and demoralize my people group, Gov. Jeb Bush had insults of his own: “I am pro-life but I believe there should be exceptions — rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger.” Any time a politician starts off with “I am pro-life but,” you know he’s not committed to ending abortion. He may do the bare minimum to get pro-life voters to think he’s pro-life, but he’s not someone who is reliable to end legalized abortion, he’s not dependable to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v Wade, and he’s clearly willing to discriminate and to leave the door open for all abortions through gaping loopholes.
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Then Gov. Bush issued the most telling remark – “That belief and my consistency on this makes me, I think, poised to be in the right place — the sweet spot — for Republican nominee.” OUCH!!! Okay, please keep in mind that I’m biting my tongue as I respond to his “sweet spot” remarks. I looked up the definition of “sweet spot,” just so everyone understands how callous his words were, and the first definition to come up is sexual in nature -- “a spot on the body that responds pleasurably to a caress or touch,” and then there’s the sports reference – “the area from which the cleanest shots are made.” Whether Jeb Bush is climaxing at the thought of denying a child conceived in rape her right to life in order to gain him victory as the GOP nominee, or if it’s that he finds the rape victim’s child to be the perfect whipping boy for taking shots at, his remarks are offensive, dehumanizing and demoralizing.
Lastly, Bush said, “Others may have a different view and I respect it.” This isn’t about respecting mere political views -- this is about respecting not just my “view,” but my life! I deserve to be alive, I was worthy of the protection I received pre-Roe v Wade, and others just like me deserve the same opportunity to be born.
If you call yourself pro-life, if you say you believe that the pre-born are persons and therefore, have a right to life under the 14th Amendment due process clause, then you cannot be willing to violate the second part of the 14th Amendment – the equal protection clause, which says that “No state shall deny a person equal protection of the laws.” To do so is not only hypocritical, it’s unconstitutional. And that’s precisely what Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are proposing – to deny persons equal protection under the law.
Recently, Sen. Lindsey Graham has made hurtful remarks calling children like me “the child of the rapist.” I am sure he has no idea how offensive that is to the majority of rape survivors who not only choose life, but choose to raise their children. After everything she’s been through and had to overcome, he has the audacity to suggest that her child is the rapist’s child. We don’t call President Obama “the polygamist’s child,” so stop trying to demonize us in such a manner. Give us our dignity and call us who we are – a rape victim’s child, a child of God, a person with a right to life.
Right now, the only two GOP presidential candidates who support overturning Roe v Wade and who refuse to discriminate against the child conceived in rape are Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio. I’ve met Sen. Rubio in person, and would love to meet Sen. Cruz some day. But I’m also willing to meet with any other candidates, and I do hope that by putting a face, a voice, and a real-life story to the issue, their hearts and minds would be changed so that they’d no longer support the killing of innocent children. There are over 300 hundred of us through Save The 1 who were conceived in rape, mothers from rape, birthmothers from rape and post-abortive after rape. We are thankful for the gift of life, we deserve our dignity, and we want our voices to be heard.
Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5, attorney and international pro-life speaker and blogger. She shares her story of having been conceived in rape and nearly aborted at two back alley abortions, but legally protected. She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, and co-founder of Embryo Defense. Reprinted with permission from Save The 1.
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