Here’s a testimony of a doctor who performed abortions and then changed his mind.
“I realized that what I’d done up to that point was not helping people. I was compounding their problems.”
Dr. John Bruchalski had powerful experiences that lead him to stop performing abortions and become an pro-life OB/GYN. He went with a friend to Mexico City and visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. While standing in front of the image, he heard a voice say clearly, ‘Why are you hurting me?’ Bruchalski said he couldn’t deal with it so he brushed it off. Looking for meaning, he then began attending a church and even volunteered at a pregnancy center. Volunteering, however, made him feel hypocritical. Bruchalski said, “I’m going back to my residency and I’m terminating pregnancies; it became a little schizophrenic.”
During that season, he delivered a baby that weighed 505 grams. The baby sadly did not survive. After the baby’s death, a neonatologist approached him and said, “I’ve seen you with your patients. On one hand, you take such good care of them, and on the other hand, when they don’t want the baby, you give me garbage. These are children, and they deserve better.”
Eventually the words that changed his heart for good came from a young woman from a Belgium pro-life group. She approached him and said, “I have some messages for you from the Blessed Mother. You’re a doctor, and you’re supposed to help. The woman said, “In health care, practice excellent medicine, see the poor daily and follow the teachings of my Son’s church. If you can do those three things, you will help my Son renew the face of the earth.”
The message caused John to cry and he said, “All of a sudden, the scales came off my eyes.” He told Jesus he was sorry for what he had done and determined to help protect lives from that point forward.
From today’s Office of Readings, taken from The Confessions of Saint Augustine – the saint speaks of his mother:
Because the day when she was to leave this life was drawing near – a day known to you, though we were ignorant of it – she and I happened to be alone, through (as I believe) the mysterious workings of your will. We stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden within the house where we were staying, at Ostia on the Tiber; for there, far from the crowds, we were recruiting our strength after the long journey, in order to prepare ourselves for our voyage overseas. We were alone, conferring very intimately. Forgetting what lay in the past, and stretching out to what was ahead, we enquired between ourselves, in the light of present truth, into what you are and what the eternal life of the saints would be like, for Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor human heart conceived it. And yet, with the mouth of our hearts wide open we panted thirstily for the celestial streams of your fountain, the fount of life which is with you.
However, the topic of whether it is right to gain some good from something which is wrong is thrown up once more from this news story. I found the following article on the website Catholic Stand by JoAnna Wahlund which helps us with the debate.
Planned Parenthood has vehemently defended its practice of selling (yes, selling) the body parts and tissue of aborted babies to biomedical companies for use in scientific research. (In fact, Catholic Stand’s Editor Emeritus, Dr. Stacy Trasancos, has already written several articles detailing how the practice of using aborted fetal tissue for research has been quietly ongoing for decades).
What has baffled me is the response of so many people, including some Catholics, who say that while abortion was horrible, at least these babies didn’t die in vain. Does it really make sense, the argument goes, to “waste” all those valuable fetal organs and tissue just because they came from a victim of abortion?
In an article for the Washington Post, Bill Leinweber, President of the National Disease Research Interchange, echoes these sentiments: “We wouldn’t be where we are today in much of medicine without the use of human tissue. […] The important concept we strive to convey to folks is: Any donation of organ or tissue for research should be cherished as a gift.”
Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson also said, in response to allegations that he had participated in a study involving the use of aborted fetal tissue samples, “To not use the tissue that is in a tissue bank, regardless of where it comes from, would be foolish. Why would anybody not do that?”
These quotes reminded me of the words of another doctor, one who, like Dr. Ben Carson, was studying diseases of the brain:
“…those brains offered wonderful material, of mentally poor, deformities and early children’s diseases. Of course I accepted the brains. It really wasn’t my concern where they came from and how they were brought to me…”
Sounds very similar to what Leinweber and Carson said, right?
That particular quote was said by Dr. Julius Hallervorden during the Nuremberg Trials. Dr. Hallervorden was a Nazi scientist who experimented on the brains of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Keep in mind that during that time it was perfectly legal under German law to kill Jews, thanks to the Nazi regime. Given it was legal to kill Jews, it seemed silly to Dr. Hallervorden to let their corpses go to waste. And indeed, Dr. Hallervorden and a colleague, Hugo Spatz (also a Nazi) discovered, through their research, Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome (now called Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration).
Were Dr. Hallervorden et al smart and sensible to make use of the “material” legally “donated” to them, regardless of the origin? If not, why is there widespread acceptance of the use of aborted fetal tissue for medical research – especially by those who profess to oppose abortion? Would it have made a difference if the Jews were unborn?
The Washington Post article cited above, and this New York Times article, spill much virtual ink telling us how important fetal tissue is for research purposes. However, one key principle in medical ethics (or any kind of ethics) is this: the end does not justify the means.
The End Does Not Justify the Means
In other words, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “One may never do evil so that good may result from it.”
It doesn’t matter if aborted fetal tissue cured cancer, Alzheimer’s, made the blind see and the lame walk. It’s simply not moral or ethical to use the corpses of unjustly murdered human beings to advance medical research — especially when the human beings in question are murdered for profit (and the company that murders them further profits by selling the organs, tissue, limbs, and sometimes intact bodies).
**taken from Ignitum today**
Photo: Brandon Stanton / Humans of New York
“I was 16 when my girlfriend got pregnant. We went to the abortion clinic on 59th Street.
We filled out the papers and everything.
Then right before we were called back, we looked at each other, and said: ‘Let’s get out of here.’”