MOUNT PLEASANT — Dr. Michelle Monticello has helped bring “approximately 1,500 babies” into this world.
“I stopped counting after my obstetrics and gynecology residency in 1995, so it’s hard to say,” suggests Dr. Monticello modestly.
With more than two decades of experience as an OB-GYN, Dr. Monticello is now medical director at Life Choices of Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, where she oversees several programs including ultrasounds for pregnant women and a free health clinic “for our mostly college age students.”
“It's a job that is wonderful and challenging all at the same time,” she says. “We do see pregnant women on all sides of the spectrum. Some are very stressed out and some are elated, so we try to meet them where they are emotionally in the reality of their lives.”
Proposal 3 would permit unrestricted abortion throughout pregnancy including partial-birth abortion. That’s a surgical procedure used in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy that aborts an unborn child by removing him or her from the uterus.
“Once you get beyond 15 to 16 weeks, the fetus is often removed in a piecemeal manner. I don't know how graphic you want me to be?” Dr. Monticello pauses momentarily.
“They have to account for the fetal parts that they removed to be sure that all of the infant parts and the placental tissue is removed after the procedure. So, it's a gruesome way to end a pregnancy. I think it's got to be a horrific experience for the woman who is undergoing that procedure.”
During her many years as an OB-GYN, Dr. Monticello has also watched with approval as advances in neonatal healthcare have helped more premature babies survive at an ever earlier age outside the womb, including infants born at 21 or 22 weeks gestation.
“And yet what breaks my heart is when I know an infant could survive outside the womb at a later gestational age and, instead, is terminated and killed in the womb,” Dr. Monticello says. “I find that heartbreaking.”
The partial-birth abortion of an unborn baby with a heartbeat was outlawed in most cases by the 2003 federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Dr. Monticello fears that is just one protection for unborn babies — and their mothers — that could be swept away by Proposal 3.
“The big problem is that the proposed constitutional amendment is very vague, it’s poorly worded and, I’d say, intentionally ambiguous so that it can and will be used to undermine a lot of the other laws that are already in place to protect us,” Dr. Monticello says.
“You really need to educate yourself about what this constitutional amendment is and what it could potentially do — and then make your decisions based upon that reality," she said. “I've even seen physicians spreading lies about this amendment, which astounds me and worries me and I think, again, people need to be aware of the reality. There's a lot of hype out there — and a lot of it is not the truth.”
This article first appeared in a special edition of Faith magazine, "Fight Like Heaven: Vote No on Extreme Proposal 3," and is republished with permission from the Diocese of Lansing.
Learn about Proposal 3
To read the full text of Proposal 3, as well as learn more about how the proposal would impact various laws in Michigan, visit the Michigan Catholic Conference's Proposal 3 information page, or visit Support MI Women and Children to get involved.
For more on how the Archdiocese of Detroit is fighting Proposal 3, visit aod.org/prolife.