Doctors support abortion in Michigan as issue goes to November ballot

For 40 years, Dr. Timothy Johnson has been treating pregnant women facing challenges.

"I'm a practicing OB/GYN, and I'm also a high-risk obstetrician. I take care of high-risk, complicated pregnancy," he said. "Difficult scenarios, difficult decisions, very desired pregnancies where we find out the baby has no brain, for example."

For the last 50 years under Roe v. Wade, patients have had the option of terminating such a pregnancy. However, that ruling was overturned in June, leaving Michigan with a 1931 law that would make it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. That law is not currently being enforced, but that could change.

Read: Both sides of Prop 3 abortion issue ready for ballot box battle

"Limiting our options, tying our hands in terms of what patient's choices are and what we can do to take care of the patient. I don't think is in the interest of the best health of women," Johnson said.

With abortion rights on the ballot in November, physicians are speaking out in support of Proposal 3. Groups like the Michigan section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Committee to Protect Health Care, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and others are concerned about what they've already seen happening in the neighboring states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana, where abortion has been severely restricted or banned.

"We've seen women delayed care for miscarriage, delayed care for ectopic pregnancy, delayed care for high-risk pregnancies," Johnson said. "Lots of questions, lots of ambiguity, and I don't think we need that in Michigan."

Johnson said other women are traveling to Michigan just to get the healthcare they need.

"Abortion is very much healthcare. It's very much medicine. It's very much allowing us to provide the kind of care that saves women's lives and maintains their health and well-being," he said. "I don't want to lose those options in terms of managing my patients."

But anti-abortion activists like the Coalition to Defeat Proposal 3 say, "Proposal 3 goes dangerously too far by removing basic health and safety regulations from abortion clinics and negating the law that requires abortions be performed by a doctor. If passed, this extreme constitutional amendment would put the health and safety of women at even greater risk."

Johnson says that is not true.

"In Michigan, at least, providing abortions is restricted to physicians," he said. "My colleagues all want to continue practicing medicine the way we have and want to continue to be able to make these very difficult decisions in the privacy of our clinics and the privacy of our offices and the privacy of our operating rooms with our patients."