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Former good articleAbortion was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
December 26, 2006Good article nomineeListed
January 14, 2008Good article reassessmentDelisted
February 21, 2015Good article nomineeNot listed
Current status: Delisted good article


I can't stand it when miscarriage is referred to as abortion. It's so insensitive to anyone who's suffered a miscarriage!!!!!!!!!!! I started this conversation once before, and it was deleted!!!!!!! 2603:6000:8740:54B1:490:44B2:8A68:29FF (talk) 00:28, 8 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's a valid medical term. A miscarriage may be known as a "spontaneous" abortion, whereas the ones you're thinking of are "induced" or "surgical" or "medication" abortions. Elizium23 (talk) 22:31, 9 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be more accurate to say that it was a valid medical term. Most major medical organizations and medical school textbooks no longer use the term spontaneous abortion to describe involuntary pregnancy loss, and several of them actively recommend against it (especially in the UK). I wouldn't be surprised to discover that some sources also oppose it because the word spontaneous, as in "Arising from a momentary impulse", suggests that women get abortions whimsically, but for the most part, sources oppose it because it is confusing and upsetting.
Perhaps we should re-work the ==Types== section to list the common ways that pregnancies end, without trying to justify their inclusion as "a type of abortion". That would probably be:
  • induced abortion (including late terminations)
  • miscarriage and stillbirth
  • childbirth
Alternatively, ==Types== could be replaced by a shorter ==Terminology== section, that briefly defines the term and gives a link to Miscarriage or Pregnancy loss. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:20, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for this up to date information. I've wanted to see a change for some time. I am strongly in favor of making some changes. Sectionworker (talk) 06:07, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Either sounds OK though I like the second suggestion a little better. Could you write something up? It is a good idea to make the lead change done in two steps. Sectionworker (talk) 02:01, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sentence at citation number 20[edit]

Propose change to the text to more accurately reflect the wording used in the cited paper ie. change the sentence to "In countries where abortion is safe and legal and modern methods are used, women can be reassured that major complications and mortality are rare at all gestations."

The current wording does not read correctly to me. Acasualobservation (talk) 14:08, 24 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you mean this sentence: When performed legally and safely on a woman who desires it, induced abortions do not increase the risk of long-term mental or physical problems.[20] Sectionworker (talk) 19:10, 24 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, that's the sentence. Acasualobservation (talk) 21:54, 24 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So your suggestion is to use less encylopedic language and not mention mental problems? I think that the sentence as it stands now is better. ---Avatar317(talk) 02:18, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. The sentence in the current version gives facts; the proposed sentence gives advice (women can be reassured), which is not the role of Wikipedia. NightHeron (talk) 10:08, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"do not increase the risk of long-term mental or physical problems." Less reassuring, when the woman has pre-existing health problems. Dimadick (talk) 11:01, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My quotation is a direct quotation from the paper cited. The current wording is not supported by the cited paper as the paper refers to mental health issues not being substantially different between women who get abortions and women who continue unintended pregnancies. This is distinct from "women who desire it" which makes it seem like women desire abortion which doesn't seem right to me. Acasualobservation (talk) 17:06, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Women who desire it" is who the source studied (women who CHOSE to have an abortion); it did not study the outcomes for women who were FORCED to have an abortion. ---Avatar317(talk) 20:38, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The citation refers to an article examining other peer reviewed research. It doesn't make the distinction between chosen or forced abortion as you suggest. Acasualobservation (talk) 22:57, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You need to learn to read the sources: "Most women seeking an abortion have made their decision..." - WP:CIR ---Avatar317(talk) 00:12, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It looks like the study didn't take into account women who wanted their babies, either. Elizium23 (talk) 00:47, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The line "Most women seeking an abortion have made their decision..." does not support your point above re chosen or forced abortion as a decision can be forced or chosen... and it is also in reference to a different citation in the article than the point on mental health. Acasualobservation (talk) 02:44, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're not making sense. The full sentence from the source is "Most women seeking an abortion have made their decision before consulting with a healthcare provider and require unbiased information and prompt referral for services." It occurs in the source's list of "Summary points". The sentence is obviously referring to women who wish to terminate their pregnancy, not to forced abortions, which are relatively rare and in which someone else makes the decision and forces the woman to have an abortion against her will. Those rare situations are not what the source is about. It's not at all clear why you're objecting to that sentence in the lede. NightHeron (talk) 10:34, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I take the point about wiki providing advice and I now think my proposed wording change should be amended. I will reconsider my proposed edit and revert or I would also be happy for others to suggest alternative wording.

The cited article states mental health issues are comparable between those who receive abortions and those who continue "unintended" pregnancies. The current wording in wiki does not distinguish between intended and unintended pregnancies in the comparisons looking at long term mental health outcomes. Acasualobservation (talk) 15:43, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Both the sentence you're questioning and the source [20] are talking only about women who want an abortion, that is, who do not want to continue their pregnancy. In some cases those were unintended pregnancies from the beginning, and in other cases they were initially intended pregnancies but no longer are, because of complications, changing circumstances of the woman, fetal deformities, etc. Concerning mental health, the logical comparison to be made is between the woman's mental health after an abortion and what it would have been without the abortion, i.e., continuing the pregnancy. That's what's in the source, and that's the point of the sentence citing that source. So I don't see any issue here. NightHeron (talk) 16:36, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To clarify a misconception above, the cited article states, as is quoted above, that most women have made the decision to have an abortion before consultation. This is obviously distinct from any factors that have influenced that decision. It is absolutely not obvious that this wouldn't include forced as well as freely chosen abortions. I do not think it is the role of wiki to interpret research conclusions that are not explicitly stated on the research.

Secondly, I think you are misinterpreting the meaning of unintended pregnancy. A pregnancy can most certainly be intended and then for whatever circumstance the pregnancy is aborted. The decision to have an abortion does not mean the pregnancy was unintended. Your claim above is not supported by the cited article. The fact that the article distinguishes between intended vs unintended pregnancies indicates this is not a fair interpretation. Acasualobservation (talk) 17:06, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Okay, I see that the source includes in the "unintended" category only those that were unplanned and unintended from the beginning, and not what it calls the "small but important proportion of abortions [that] are performed for serious maternal medical conditions or fetal indications." But the key statement in the source that relates to the sentence you're questioning is in the "Summary points" section: "Uncomplicated abortions are not associated with long term psychological or physical sequelae." Note that since the sentence you're questioning is in the article's lead, it doesn't have to cite sources if the statement is treated in more detail in the main body and is well-sourced there (from WP:LEAD: "it is common for citations to appear in the body, and not the lead"). In section 3.1 of the article, in addition to source [20] the statement is supported by two other sources [123] and [124].
When the source speaks of the woman's decision occurring in most cases before consultation, that means that it's the woman who's making the decision, and that clearly excludes the tiny proportion of abortions that are coerced, i.e., not her decision. NightHeron (talk) 18:03, 29 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is certainly a plausible interpretation that the statement re the woman's decision excludes interference or coercion etc. However, I find that interpretation difficult to support given the article provides no basis for how those cases would be excluded here. A person's decision can of course by influenced in a variety of ways and there is no basis to suggest the possibilities above are excluded here. In any case I don't think this point is key to our edit here.

The current wiki wording doesn't distinguish between intended vs unintended pregnancies which it should based of the given citation - number 20.

I have also examined below the other relevant citations given under the mental health section of the wiki which I see to be - 123, 124 and 125. I think the current wiki wording on the connection between mental health issues and abortion should be reworded to account for the issues identified below. I am happy to propose alternative text or examine text prepared by other editors.

The noted citations are all based on the Turnaway Study. This study compares mental health outcomes between women who got abortions and women who sought out abortions but were denied based on gestational age and who later agreed to interviews. In this way the Turnaway Study only looked at certain specific cohorts of women, it even excluded women who wanted their pregnancy but had an abortion for fatal fetal abnormality reasons. It also excluded women who carried their children to term by choice. This was a deliberate choice made by the Turnaway Study. Naturally, there will be some disagreement here around the suitability of the methodology of the Turnaway Study and it wouldn't be appropriate to delve into that via wiki discussion. For our purposes here, I would simply note that the wiki article makes a more generalized claim that abortion doesn't effect mental health which fails to specify the limited cohort that all papers based on Turnaround Study refer to and fails to incorporate the significant research which indicates negative mental health outcomes as discussed below. The Turnaway Study conducted 6 monthly interviews over a 5 year period with women who got abortions and women who wanted abortions but were denied because of gestational age and it was then reported the women expressed similar mental health outcomes based on the telephone interviews. There are a number of published criticisms of the Turnaround Study, for example see here - - As you can see the situation is certainly less definitive than the current wiki article text suggests. 

There is also good quality meta analysis linking abortion provision to mental health issues for example here -

There is a general consensus amongst the research, for example outlined here (, that - "Common ground exists regarding the very basic fact that at least some women do have significant mental health issues that are caused, triggered, aggravated, or complicated by their abortion experience." Acasualobservation (talk) 10:33, 1 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The context for the mental health question is whether or not the mental health of a woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy would be better if she is either pressured into changing her mind (perhaps because of difficulty of access or because of a torrent of misinformation if she goes to a Crisis Pregnancy Center) or is simply forbidden to have an abortion. The evidence in the sources is that mental health is not improved by requiring or pressuring women into bringing an unwanted pregnancy to term. I don't know why you keep mentioning forced abortions, which are rare and are not the issue; no one is arguing that coercing a woman to have an abortion wouldn't be bad for her mental health. The context is forced childbirth, not forced abortion.
Of course one can argue that a woman who desires her pregnancy -- who's healthy, happily married, and in good enough financial shape to support a family -- is likely to have better mental health one year later than a woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy because she was raped, or has an abusive boyfriend or one who abandoned her when she became pregnant, or is too poor to adequately provide for a child. The studies cited in the article did not compare women in those two categories, presumably because that's not where the disagreement has been.
One can also argue that the abortion experience itself takes a toll on women's mental health. As far as I'm aware, there's no evidence that this is the case in places that protect women's reproductive rights and have easy access to abortion services. But it's certainly plausible that a woman who has to face legal and practical obstacles in order to get an abortion or who has to walk through a gauntlet of anti-abortion demonstrators shouting insults at her will have a very stressful experience of procuring an abortion.
I don't think you've made a convincing case for changing or adding to the article's treatment of the mental health issue. NightHeron (talk) 13:09, 1 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As stated in my last comment I think we can set aside the forced, coercion aspect. So we agree here.

What about the other parts of my comment above. There is significant research suggesting abortion is linked to mental health issues and I provided links to some above. The only counter research I'm aware of is the Turnaway Study and there are a number of issues with that study for which I've also provide a citation for above. Whether or not you personally are convinced of this connection between abortion and mental health or if you feel it might be connected to external factors like difficulties in associated administration seems beside the point here. Acasualobservation (talk) 08:52, 2 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Both of the sources given in your last two paragraphs are low-quality. Concerning Priscilla K. Coleman, the author of the first one, see her wikipedia page. The author of the second one, David C. Reardon, is an electrical engineer and anti-abortion activist. Neither has scientific credibility in this area. NightHeron (talk) 10:45, 2 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your assertion that they are low quality is just your own opinion. I'd think we should agree self referencing wiki as a source is bad practice, particularly considering the poor quality of the wiki page on Coleman. Also an ad hominem with regard to Reardon is also inappropriate, particularly noting that the Turnaway Study is from the ANSIRH, which is openly pro choice and this has its own biases. For our purposes here you are biasing the outcome by simply asserting that those who agree with you are reliable sources and those that don't agree with you are unreliable sources. Meanwhile there are clearly key issues with the Turnaway Study that you are willing to ignore, for example the high proportion of the women, 68 percent, who rejected interview, who are just ignored by the Study.

I think it's fair to say it's an emotive issue and there are concerns with much of the Studies available because of the biases associated. But it is clearly not a resolved issue as the current wiki wording suggests and it would be irresponsible for us to mislead the reader in this respect. Acasualobservation (talk) 11:15, 2 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I did not suggest that the wikipedia article on Coleman be used as a source in this article. I suggested that reading it would give you information on why the source you proposed is low-quality. If you have objections to the article Priscilla K. Coleman, you should raise them on the talk-page for that article, not here. My statement about the other author was not "ad hominem". I pointed out that he's an electrical engineer with no apparent scientific qualifications for writing about mental health and abortion, and that he's an anti-abortion activist, which apparently explains why he would write about the topic despite a lack of qualifications in the area. NightHeron (talk) 12:31, 2 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your statement above is almost the very definition of an ad hominem - ie. you are making statements about "the researcher" and not the "content of the work" in question. However, I think it can be valid to highlight a biased view on this topic that must be considered but in the same way I also think it's valid to highlight the bias of the ANSIRH in this regard. Given the subject matter, it is very difficult to find unbiased sources.

To summarise the situation there are published research subject to peer review to support both positions re mental health outcomes and abortion but the published research is from biased sources and there are some compounding issues and controversy with regard to the research across the board. However, the current wiki wording is presenting only the Turnaway Study without acknowledging that controversy and the view expressed in the wiki article is not a faithful reflection of what was actually in the Turnaway Study. For example, in relation to the specific cohorts involved in the Study and the high number of no shows re participants for interviews. This is not reflected in the wiki text and presents a misleading idea that this is somehow a settled view. Acasualobservation (talk) 17:26, 3 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You have not gained any support even though the editors here have spent a great deal of time to discuss your opinions. It seems that it is time to walk away rather than to go on and on with no support. Sectionworker (talk) 20:49, 3 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Sectionworker, surely the whole point of this talk page is to have these discussions. This discussion was opened only over the Christmas break, so only a couple of weeks ago. In addition, we can also see that the significant contributions here have just been from NightHeron and myself so I don't think it's fair to suggest I'm somehow wasting editors time.

It is also incorrect to simply reduce my comment above to just my "opinions". I believe I have set out clear reasoning for my view. If you disagree, please provide a substantive response that can help us refine the wording in the article rather than just a dismissal of legitimate concerns. Acasualobservation (talk) 14:44, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you continue a discussion by pushing the same arguments after said arguments have failed to gain traction then you are wasting the community's time. The source saying "Uncomplicated abortions are not associated with long term psychological or physical sequelae" is perfectly good support for the idea that mental health is not substantially harmed by abortion. Your wish to remove that statement is struck down by that source. Binksternet (talk) 16:25, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Binksternet, as discussed above, this statement refers to the Turnaway Study. There are other studies with conflicting conclusions. The Turnaway Study has methodological issues which I have provided citations for above and it and the other studies I've referred to all have biases associated as myself and NightHeron have highlighted. Given these issues why aren't we presenting the reader with a broader view of the literature on the subject? Acasualobservation (talk) 19:34, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding "it [the Turnaway Study] and the other studies I've referred to all have biases associated as myself and NightHeron have highlighted", please don't misrepresent what I said. I explained why the sources you want to use are unreliable. I did not say, and do not believe, that the source that's cited in the current version is biased or unreliable. NightHeron (talk) 20:18, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My apologies, I did not mean to misrepresent you. Is there a particular reason you don't accept the criticisms I have referred to regarding the Turnaround Study? Acasualobservation (talk) 20:28, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How about the absence of any reliable, repeatable study proving that abortion causes mental problems? We have sources asserting no mental problems, and we have no conclusive proof otherwise, so you have no leverage. Binksternet (talk) 22:43, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have the Turnaway Study conducted by a recognized pro choice organisation, which relied on twice yearly phone interviews of a limited cohort of women and which also ignored the high dropout rate from the study. Simultaneously we also have meta analysis, some conducted by those with pro life leanings, indicating links to poor mental health outcomes, with questions regarding repeatability but with counter claims of differing underlying assumptions. So we have conflicting but also biased data in the literature across the board. The question is how do we fairly reflect that here in the wiki article? Acasualobservation (talk) 23:06, 8 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A source does not become unreliable just because the authors have an opinion on the issue. I did not say that the two authors you want to cite are unreliable because they are anti-abortion. Their "studies" are unreliable because neither author has a good reputation as a scholar in the relevant area. That's the point I made earlier. To include low-quality sources to provide "balance" goes against policy, see WP:FALSEBALANCE. You should also read WP:DEADHORSE. NightHeron (talk) 00:06, 9 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NighHeron, thank you for your comment.

You make the claim that "Their "studies" are unreliable because neither author has a good reputation as a scholar in the relevant area."

This has two components the studies and the authors. If you have a citation for any issues you see with the studies please provide them here and I will examine them in detail.

As you have stated above the views of the authors are not relevant to the quality of the studies. In addition, I don't think the case that the authors "reputation" in the field is poor has been adequately made here, even if it was a relevant point. I think the focus should be on the "research" and not the researcher.

The claim that the studies cited are "low quality" has not been adequately supported by citation above. This is particularly true given recognised issues with the Turnaway Study, as cited above, are ignored.

Even if we accept only the Turnaway Study, there are still issues with the wording in the wiki article which doesn't note the limited cohort of the study or the dropout rate within the study. This gives a false perception to the reader of the wiki article that should be addressed.

The claim that this somehow represents false balance is inappropriate here. Acasualobservation (talk) 07:51, 9 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As others have told you earlier, it's become obvious that you're not going to obtain consensus here for the changes you want to make. You have not convinced anyone, and the discussion is repetitious. It's time to move on and drop it. NightHeron (talk) 10:53, 9 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 16:52, 11 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Education assignment: 2023SP Communication Research Methods[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg This article is currently the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 15 January 2023 and 11 May 2023. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Andrewgarcia1973. Peer reviewers: Ridakazmi2, Sasukedagoat, Cgonz98, Brittneyguizar, ChristopherH13.

— Assignment last updated by Ridakazmi2 (talk) 16:29, 15 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Horatio Storer Pseudoscience[edit]

Is there more sources on Horatio Storer Pseudoscience? Currently, this pseudoscience was mentioned by a noncredible NPR talk show host. Remove the pseudoscience and add more reliable sources. Take the source which doesn't mention pseudoscience instead says he distinguished obstetrics from gynecology131.193.86.107 (talk) 19:32, 27 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that pseudoscientific is not the best word to use here. In 19th century medicine it's sometimes hard to distinguish between pseudoscience and bad science. I'd be okay with replacing the word with "misogynist", which is definitely supported by sources (for example, on p. 86-87 of reference [222]). NightHeron (talk) 10:12, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll go ahead and change "pseudoscientific" to "misogynist" and see if anyone objects. NightHeron (talk) 09:32, 1 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad definition?[edit]

“Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion"; these occur in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnancies.”

This could be trimmed down to: “Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus.”, miscarriage could still have a redirect above the a page, but i reckon it that miscarriage isn’t relevant to abortion enough to warrant so much text about it ViralAnsatz (talk) 13:01, 13 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In medical terminology, an abortion is an "induced miscarriage", so it is important to clarify the difference. ---Avatar317(talk) 21:52, 13 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]