All Miscarriages Are Abortions

While colloquially speaking the term “abortion” is almost exclusively used to describe a pregnancy that is intentionally ended, the technical and medical meaning of this terminology is “removal of an embryo or fetus from the womb prior to its full development.” The technical term “abortion” does not define the mental or emotional process of the pregnant person in relationship to the contents of the womb, it simply means that the pregnancy has been released. The vast majority of medical terminology referring to what would colloquially be called miscarriage includes the word abortion: missed abortion, spontaneous abortion, threatened abortion, to name a few.

The fact that the technical meaning of the word “abortion” itself carries no implication of the pregnant person’s mental or emotional attachment to the pregnancy release has something to teach us about the neutrality and universality of physiology.

“What is physiologic is universal, what is cultural is normal” ~ Michel Odent


As support people we must provide compassionate care and objective education that supports comfort and well-being through the physiologic process of pregnancy  release. To heal the culturally normative stigma around these processes, we must provide care that does not make assumptions about the individual’s mental, emotional or spiritual experience. Upon a foundation of compassion, education and comfort measures in respect to the physiologic process, we must remain neutral and receptive as we hold space for the unique multidimensional process of each individual.


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