We mustn’t conflate miscarriage with abortion – language matters

Both Lives Matter | Press | We mustn’t conflate miscarriage with abortion – language matters

After some unhelpful media discussion which conflated miscarriage and any subsequent medical procedure, with abortion,  we felt it was important to write a letter to avoid confusion and potential hurt…. 

“We are disturbed that conversations over the last 24 hours in the media in Northern Ireland have unhelpfully and inaccurately conflated two separate and distinct issues. Many women have suffered from the loss of a much wanted baby through miscarriage, and whilst the correct term for a medical procedure may be “medical abortion” or “medical termination”, this terminology is actually hurtful to many, myself included.

The medical removal of an unborn baby which has died in the womb is in no way an abortion, as understood by the public. Abortion involves the deliberate ending of a life, not the removal of a baby which has already died from the womb. To then discuss this procedure within the context of a debate about legalising abortion was confusing, if not disingenuous, and it would be wrong for those who are campaigning for a right to choose to end an unborn life to continue to do so.

When talking of miscarriage and abortion we are raising two very important and sensitive issues. For Both Lives Matter every death before birth, the loss of a pre-born life, is always a tragedy for the woman and for the unborn child. Woman and child are intimately connected and whether from miscarriage or abortion there is surely a sense of trauma and loss.

We say this with a desire to speak with sensitivity and compassion, because we are concerned that if the debate continues in this way there will be confusion for some women over decisions they may make, or have made in the past. We would also encourage any woman who has been affected by either of these issues to seek support and help and not to reflect on their experiences alone.

Dawn McAvoy”

If you need help, support or advice please contact the LIFE NI care service Pregnancy Matters on 028 9043 8344. For more information about our work and services contact the main LIFE NI office on 028 9043 8339 or email [email protected]