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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  1. Should we add or expand coverage of a particular aspect of abortion?
    It is likely that we have already done so. There was so much information on abortion that we decided to split it all into separate articles. This article is concise because we've tried to create an overview of the entire topic here by summarizing many of these more-detailed articles. The goal is to give readers the ability to pick the level of detail that best suits their needs. If you're looking for more detail, check out some of the other articles related to abortion.
  2. This article seems to be on the long side. Should we shorten it?
    See above. The guidelines on article length contain exceptions for articles which act as "starting points" for "broad subjects." Please see the archived discussion "Article Length."
  3. Should we include expert medical or legal advice about abortions?
    No. Wikipedia does not give legal or medical advice. Please see Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer and Wikipedia:Legal disclaimer for more information.
  4. Should we include or link to pictures of fetuses and/or the end products of abortion?
    No consensus. See the huge discussion on this topic in 2009 here. Consistently, there has been little support for graphic "shock images"; while images were added in 2009 the topic remains contentious, and some images have been removed.
  5. Should we include an image in the lead?
    No consensus. Numerous images have been proposed for the article lead. However, no image achieved consensus and the proposal that garnered a majority of support is to explicitly have no image in the lead.
Former good article Abortion 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
Date Process Result
December 26, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
January 14, 2008 Good article reassessment Delisted
February 21, 2015 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Delisted good article
This article has been mentioned by a media organisation:
Archive Index
Topical subpages

Notable precedents in discussion

Medical abortion[edit]

Our Medical abortion article states:

There is little, if any, difference between medical and surgical abortion in terms of safety and efficacy. Thus, both methods are similar from a medical point of view and there are only very few situations where a recommendation for one or the other method for medical reasons can be given. (WHO)

Our abortion article states:

Medical abortion regimens using mifepristone in combination with a prostaglandin analog are the most common methods used for second-trimester abortions in Canada, most of Europe, China and India,[41] in contrast to the United States where 96% of second-trimester abortions are performed surgically by dilation and evacuation.

And yet the lead for this article states:

Modern methods use medication or surgery for abortions.[2] The drugs mifepristone and prostaglandin are a reasonable alternative to surgery during the first trimester.[2][3] While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects.[3][5]

To merely call medical abortion a "reasonable alternative" during the first trimester and then to further state it "may work" in the second, though with a higher risk of side effects, does not seem to match what I found when I did some further reading. Furthermore, as written the article seems to suggest that the rest of the world is wrong in its approach while the US has taken the route most beneficial for women, which I doubt. I think we need to reword the lead. Gandydancer (talk) 16:26, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

I like the WHO ref. How do you propose we summary it? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:56, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Existing copy reads: Modern methods use medication or surgery for abortions.[2] The drugs mifepristone and prostaglandin are a reasonable alternative to surgery during the first trimester.[2][3] While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects.[3][5] Birth control, such as the pill or intrauterine devices, can be started at once after an abortion.[3] When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is and has long been one of the safest procedures in medicine.[6][7] Uncomplicated abortions do not cause any long term mental or physical problems.[8] The World Health Organization recommends safe and legal abortions be available to all women.[9] Every year unsafe abortions cause 47,000 deaths and 5 million hospital admissions.[8][10]

Suggest: The World Health Organization recommends safe and legal abortions be available to all women.[9] Modern methods use medication or surgery for abortions; in terms of safety or effectiveness there is little to no difference in either method. Birth control, such as the pill or intrauterine devices, can be started at once after an abortion.[3] When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is and has long been one of the safest procedures in medicine.[6][7] Uncomplicated abortions do not cause any long term mental or physical problems.[8] Every year unsafe abortions cause 47,000 deaths and 5 million hospital admissions.[8][10]

I would gladly use some other word than "effectiveness" but I can't come up with one that works as well. Gandydancer (talk) 02:38, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

A couple of comments, it is the medication combination that works aswell at least in the first trimester. In the second trimester things are more complicated. Thus IMO we should state the meds and discuss the second trimester first trimester difference. If most people are set on using effectiveness we can of course.
"The World Health Organization recommends safe and legal abortions be available to all women.[9] Modern methods use either medication or surgery for abortions. In terms of safety and effectiveness there is little difference between the medications mifepristone and prostaglandin and surgery in the first trimester. While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects.[3][5] Birth control, such as the pill or intrauterine devices, can be started at once after an abortion.[3] When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is and has long been one of the safest procedures in medicine.[6][7] Uncomplicated abortions do not cause any long term mental or physical problems.[8] Every year unsafe abortions cause 47,000 deaths and 5 million hospital admissions.[8][10]"
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:02, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
From what I have found in my reading:
  • Although women treated with mifepristone and misoprostol reported significantly more pain than those undergoing D&E, efficacy and acceptability were the same in both groups (per one study). This is from the WHO wherein they said they used a Cochrane review but the review could find only two studies that met their criteria and one used prostaglandin rather than mifepristone and misoprostol, which I understand is the preferred method.
  • The WHO concluded: Only two studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Both of them had been conducted in the USA and had a small number of participants. There are no evidence-based data from developing countries such as China, India and Viet Nam where there are more second trimester abortion than in developed countries. Trials of adequate power are needed from such settings to compare currently used medical (mifepristone combined with misoprostol, misoprostol administered by vaginal or by sublingual route and intra-amniotic administration of ethacridine lactate) and surgical methods of abortion for termination of pregnancies in the second trimester.
  • The medical method is used almost 100% of the time in both Finland and Sweden and 25% of the time in the UK for second trimester abortions. I find it hard to believe that they would be using a method that they believe to be inferior to the surgical method. Info from [1]
With these facts in mind, I believe that it is misleading to say "While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects.[3][5]". To say that they may work means that sometimes they may not work, which is clearly not a reflection of what the information says. Gandydancer (talk) 19:54, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that medical and surgical are equal in the first trimester.
The ref for second trimester abortions states "Many studies reported the need for surgical evacuation. Indications for surgical evacuation include retained products of the placenta and heavy vaginal bleeding."[2]
The other ref says with respect to second trimester abortion "Fewer women experienced adverse events with D&E compared with mifepristone combined with misoprostol (OR 0.06; 95% CI 0.01–0.76), although there were no differences in efficacy between the two groups."[3]
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:17, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
So per "To say that they may work means that sometimes they may not work" I do not think this was the intention but tried to reword to address the concern as in both trimesters medical and surgical methods are equally effective. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:22, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate your efforts, however the first ref that you offer above compares several forms of medical abortions, not medical compared to surgical, and it is well-known that some forms do not produce favorable outcomes and present various complications. According to Cochrane there is yet only one study that compares the preferred medical method with the preferred surgical method. It seems to me that we are left with the only sure statement being "surgery may have lower risk of side effects." Gandydancer (talk) 01:14, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Can you clarify? Do you mean to state that you do not feel the literature supports equal effectiveness of medical and surgical methods in the first or second trimester. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:59, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

OK, here is your suggestion: Modern methods use either medication or surgery for abortions. In terms of safety and effectiveness there is little difference between the medications mifepristone and prostaglandin and surgery in the first trimester. While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects.

I think that is good wording except for this:While medical methods may work in the second trimester,[4] surgery has lower risk of side effects. because when surgery is matched up with the use of mifepristone and prostaglandin (in the second trimester), we have only one study to look at, and not a very good one at that. For this reason I feel that it is more accurate to say "surgery may have a lower risk of side effects." Thus I propose In terms of safety and effectiveness there is little difference between the medications mifepristone and prostaglandin and surgery, although in the second trimester surgery may have a lower risk of side effects. (Even though I would prefer to just leave the reference to the second trimester out of the lead entirely.)

This quote: "Using the same published safety data, countries have developed policies and practices that are almost opposite from each other, as demonstrated by the predominance of surgical methods in the United States and the predominance of labor induction abortion in many other countries." from here: [4] is helpful. I hope this helps... Gandydancer (talk) 23:11, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Would split it into two sentences In terms of safety and effectiveness there is little difference between the medications mifepristone and prostaglandin and surgery. Although in the second trimester surgery may have a lower risk of side effects. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:29, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
OK. Some changes have been made and I just went with them as they do not need to use effectiveness which I know you did not care for. It now reads: The drugs mifepristone and prostaglandin work as well as surgery during the first and second trimester.[3][4] During the second trimester surgery may have a lower risk of side effects.[4][5] Are we all happy? I am. :-) Gandydancer (talk) 23:53, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks User:Gandydancer. Looks good to me :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:24, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
That phrasing looks good. The only suggestion I would make is to add than medical abortion to the end. I think there a possible misreading which infers that the comparison is between surgery in the second trimester & surgery in the first trimester; not between the two methods. Hope this helps. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 08:18, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes sounds reasonable. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:14, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

This is an important issue for all women but perhaps especially important for women in countries with less well-developed medical systems such as Africa where skilled medical providers are not available, or in the U.S. where women do not receive free medical care and may have to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket. We need to get this right and we must not make statements in the Wikipedia voice that are not strongly backed with RS. After several days of discussion an agreement was reached which I implemented. It was reverted by Motsebboh with an edit summary of Reverted change that was not an improvement and not agreed to on the Talk page. Greater risk of side effects doesn't square with = effectiveness. I restored my edit suggesting that Motsebboh should have taken part in the discussion if s/he had any concerns and s/he replied with the edit summary I did take part in the discussion by adding the "Maybe neither" subtopic to it. You and Doc don't own the article. Actually the "Maybe neither" suggestion is from another topic, not this one. I've waited a day to give Motsebboh a chance to respond but s/he has not done so. I'm going to revert to the wording that was decided on in this section. I will use good faith and trust that Motsebboh does not want an edit war. Gandydancer (talk) 14:07, 13 January 2016 (UTC) Ah, I see it's been fixed. Thanks CFCF. Gandydancer (talk) 14:21, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Hi Gandydancer, With respect, the discussion above agreed a wording including the phrasing work as well as (which I take to speak to effectiveness); what was implemented includes a phrasing as safe and effective as (which I take to speak to both safety and effectiveness). Given the sources around side effects, Motsebboh concerns w.r.t the safety aspect may be valid in this regard, and I would support a move back to the works as well as phrasing, as agreed. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 22:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm certainly open to both ways of putting it. Doc never did get much agreement, if I remember correctly, and he did say he was ready to step aside if the others saw it differently. I think that MastCell did prefer the safety... phrasing. See what I added below and see what you think? Gandydancer (talk) 13:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I see a number of problems with the present wording of the lead's second paragraph. First, the most effective drug-induced technique, as I read the sources, is mifepristone in combination with prostaglandin, not the two separately. Just saying "mifepristone and prostaglandin" does not adequately convey this idea. Second, I don't see where either of the two sources used here actually says that surgery and drugs work equally well. Each is described as working acceptably well, each is "legit" by the standards of the medical profession, but I don't see where either source says that one is as good as the other. Third, relating to Ryk's point above, it doesn't make much sense to say that surgery and drugs are equally safe and effective and then immediately after this say that drugs may cause a greater risk of side effects. If something has a greater risk of unwanted side effects then I don't think of it as equally safe and effective. Socio-political considerations, such as wanting to give poorer women greater access to safe abortion, should play no role in how we interpret the sources. Motsebboh (talk) 23:23, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I will amend the article to state "in combination with" as you suggest.
  • Regarding your second concern, the information is there and it is not reasonable for you to ignore the discussion only to now state a disagreement once the information has been added to the article. I did a lot of reading and presented it here and two other editors followed it and we came to an agreement.
  • Re your statement "If something has a greater risk of unwanted side effects then I don't think of it as equally safe and effective", it all depends. For example, reading the article that I mention above it says, "In contrast to surgical abortion, complication rates [for a medical method] do not appear to increase with advancing gestational age" along with dozens of other facts on the safety and effectiveness of both methods. Also, there are hundreds of medications with side effects that are a lot more concerning than the ones mentioned here that are never-the-less called safe and effective. Gandydancer (talk) 13:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC) However, to add, I do not believe that our sources support the statement "During the second trimester, surgery may have a lower risk of side effects.[3][4][5]", but I'm not going to try to argue it. Gandydancer (talk) 14:15, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Well perhaps you should argue it, because I still think that it makes no sense for our article to say in consecutive sentences that Method A is just as safe and effective as Method B but that Method A may cause a greater risk of side effects. That's a head-scratcher. Motsebboh (talk) 19:43, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Bias in lead[edit]

Language such as the following passage to the lead sounds a lot to me like pro-choice advocacy:

When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is and has long been one of the safest procedures in medicine. Uncomplicated abortions do not cause any long term mental or physical problems. The World Health Organization recommends safe and legal abortions be available to all women. Every year unsafe abortions cause 47,000 deaths and 5 million hospital admissions.

I see strong bias in the lead, the sources for which are largely gleaned from individuals and organizations firmly committed to the availability of the procedure. This bias relates to the choice of facts selected for the lead (and facts left unselected) and, in an instance or two, the wording of those facts. For example, I suspect that the sentence "Uncomplicated abortions do not cause any long term mental or physical problems" (presumably for the patient) is an overstated and oversimplified summary of findings that don't show a general significant statistical link between the two, which is not the same thing. Drinking eight cups of coffee a day may help some people, hurt others, and be an overall statistical wash in studies. While debates over the morality of abortion are mentioned toward the end of the lead I notice that the firm opposition to abortion of the world's largest religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church is not. On the other hand the World Health Organization's endorsement of of "safe and legal abortions" is presented in the second paragraph. In summary, I think the lead needs some work. Motsebboh (talk) 20:25, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't share your concerns. In the lead we have no choice but to make only one statement of one or a few sentences regarding the major topics related to the article. For instance while you say, "While debates over the morality of abortion are mentioned toward the end of the lead I notice that the firm opposition to abortion of the world's largest religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church is not.", we also know that:
The percentage of American Catholics that believe abortion should be legal in "all or most cases" is approximately half, with 47-54% giving this as their position.[10][12] When posed a binary question of whether abortion was acceptable or unacceptable, rather than a question of whether it should be allowed or not allowed in all or most cases, 40% of American Catholics said it was acceptable, approximately the same percentage as non-Catholics.[11] Some 58% of American Catholic women feel that they do not have to follow the abortion teaching of their bishop.[63]
This is very complicated and far from black and white. We mention religion and that's the best we can do for the lead, IMO. BTW, I reverted your article deletion - this will need discussion. Gandydancer (talk) 21:16, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes agree with User:Gandydancer. The situation among Catholics and abortion is complicated. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:06, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the situation among individual Catholics is complicated, much like the situation among individual MDs worldwide is complicated. However, the position of the Roman Catholic Church is rather clear-cut, much like the position of the (vastly smaller) World Health Organization is clear-cut. Motsebboh (talk) 03:57, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
That is pretty misinformed, both the WHO and the Catholic church have very varied views—it depends on who you ask within those organizations. The WHO endorses access to safe and legal abortions, it does not comment on the morality as such. The Catholic church has a myriad of opinions, and as far as I know no single official opinion. CFCF 💌 📧 12:16, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Are you shitting me? Of course the Roman Catholic Church has an official position on abortion. Talk about "pretty misinformed"! Motsebboh (talk) 18:57, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Let me rephrase that—there has been no official position since 1992. Considering the other massive policy changes after John Paul's papacy I don't think its proper to cite his Catechism. CFCF 💌 📧 19:11, 10 January 2016 (UTC) 
The size of the WHO is irrelevant. It is a scientific body. The Catholic Church is a religious body. So one bases its views on evidence, the other on dogma. The two are not equivalent. Guy (Help!) 19:13, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Our article, as I have said numerous times now, is about abortion in its broad social context; not simply in its narrower scientific/medical context. Moreover, WHO's position on abortion, properly understood, is not a scientific factual finding but a moral position in the same sense that the RC Church's position is a moral position. The lead, as it now stands quite appropriately brings up the moral debates about abortion. In that context the Catholic Church's official opposition to abortion is certainly worth a mention. Motsebboh (talk) 19:57, 10 January 2016 (UTC) More worthy of mention in the lead than the fact that it is medically safe to start contraceptive techniques right after an abortion. Motsebboh (talk)
I agree that it's reasonable to remove the WHO's position on abortion from the lead, as we don't mention the positions of any other major bodies, and I've gone ahead and done so. On the other hand, I've retained information on the safety of abortion, as this is a key aspect of the topic that we are required to cover in the lead, per WP:LEAD. MastCell Talk 01:46, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Well done. Motsebboh (talk) 02:24, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
It was a statement by the WHO and it is a medical procedure. Disagree that their was an issue. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:01, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm surprised to see it removed and believe it should be put back. Of all of the health institutions, the WHO is the most familiar to our readers. Furthermore it is used again and again in not only this article but many of our other articles as well. Gandydancer (talk) 10:53, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, WHO's recommendation of universal abortion rights COULD go into the lead, and so COULD RCC's condemnation of abortion. They also could both just go into the body. It is a mistake to think that WHO's opinion deserves pride of place here. Like the RCC's position on the issue, WHO's position represents a MORAL stand. It means that in its appreciation of all abortion rights' possible consequences for the world, Who thinks that the world is better off allowing women to freely access "safe" abortion. RCC, on the other hand, thinks that the world is worse off allowing women to freely access "safe" abortion. Motsebboh (talk) 16:34, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

The WHO position is not a recommendation of abortion rights it is a recommendation of safe abortions when abortion is legal, unlike the church's position, which is a moral pronouncement. The WHO's position is directly related to abortion safety issues which MastCell claims do belong in the lead. Again, I believe that it should be returned to the lead. Per their latest guideline I'd suggest this wording or similar: "Where they are legal, the World Health Organization recommends safe abortions be available to all women."[2]Gandydancer (talk) 18:54, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

No, While its wording tends to tap dance around directly calling abortion a human right, all of WHO's argument leads in that direction. Prefacing the statement by adding "Where they are legal" is misleading because WHO is quite obviously advocating that they be "legal and safe" everywhere. Motsebboh (talk) 19:39, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I have restored it as a relevant position of one of the if not the most authoritative medical body there is. RCC's 1992 Cathechism by Pope John Paul II is not similarly authoritative today.CFCF 💌 📧 22:35, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

There is no such thing as an "authoritative body" on whether or not abortion should be legal. It is a subjective opinion, whether it be WHO's opinion or the Vatican's. Saying that the RCC's 1992 Catechism "is not similarly authoritative" to WHO's position is intellectual gibberish. Motsebboh (talk) 22:56, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
The WHO is responsible for the health of all women, including the ones who desire an abortion but do not have access to a provider. They explain their concerns saying:
"In countries where induced abortion is legally highly restricted and/or unavailable, safe abortion has frequently become the privilege of the rich, while poor women have little choice but to resort to unsafe providers, causing deaths and morbidities that become the social and financial responsibility of the public health system." Gandydancer (talk) 23:21, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
None of which is relevant to our discussion here. Motsebboh (talk) 00:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC) For what it is worth (which isn't anything as far as this discussion is supposed to be concerned) richer people quite generally have a better chance of breaking the law without incurring onerous consequences. Motsebboh (talk) 01:06, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I apologize for not explaining my view more fully; I haven't been very active here in general. Briefly, I view the WHO as an outstanding source for the medical and public-health aspects of abortion, which are the focuses of the second paragraph of the lead. I view the question of advocacy for abortion rights (or for their restriction) as separate, and we cover that topic briefly in the final paragraph of the lead without mentioning any specific organization's position. I do understand the point, raised by others above, that the WHO's position is nuanced and predicated on abortion safety, but personally I would still prefer to keep medical/public-health aspects separate from advocacy as much as possible.

Given the extensive promulgation of misinformation about abortion (c.f. PMID 21557713), my personal priority for this page is that it present accurate medical information. Separating advocacy arguments from medical content helps with this goal, in my view. (As a gentle reminder, this page is subject to 1RR; I think there have been a couple of violations recently, but nothing that should require more than a quick reminder going forward). MastCell Talk 16:50, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

The relevance here is "bias in lead". Looking at WP:NPOV, the specific views of the WHO carry a great deal of WP:WEIGHT. Is there any similar health body with contrary views based on medical science which we have left out? That would be bias. Otherwise we're comparing apples to oranges. --Pete (talk) 17:01, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
No, Pete. The question of whether abortion should be a woman's right is a moral question, not a medical one. The WHO and any other medical organization is free to express an opinion on this moral question but, then so is the RCC. Motsebboh (talk) 22:11, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Don't you oppress me, now. Our lede doesn't couch it in such terms, unless perhaps you feel that our wording, "The World Health Organization recommends safe and legal abortions be available to all women…" should be extended to add "…and all men." --Pete (talk) 22:19, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
. . "Don't (I) oppress you now"?? Sorry, don't know what you're talking about. Motsebboh (talk) 22:42, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I see you didn't have a classical education. Here you go! --Pete (talk) 23:01, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Stop wasting our time. Motsebboh (talk) 23:45, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Wording of opening sentence[edit]

It appears that things are getting overly complicated. We may need RfCs / clear consensus before making changes to this article. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:07, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

The first sentence has been stable for some time and extensively discussed in the past. I have restored the easier to understand wording. Please get consensus before changing it. Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:38, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
This isn't "MY First Encyclopedia" for elementary pupils, Doc. "Before it can survive on its own", [5], is just bad wording; informal as well as inaccurate. Motsebboh (talk) 00:23, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I concur, this isn't WP:SEW. Both "womb" and "can survive on it's own" are poor verbiage choices, inappropriate for a serious encyclopedia, and in addition, "survive on it's own" was rightly criticized by another editor earlier in an edit summary as being completely inaccurate. There's nothing wrong with "viable"; it's linked if anyone requires clarification. And it's simply pandering IMO to pipe "uterus" to "womb". Do you also pipe "vagina" to "female parts"? KillerChihuahua 01:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
How is this change "simplifying"? It is adding verbiage which is much wordier and less clear in one place, and piping a perfectly acceptable and accurate word in another. I suggest you have complicated rather than simplified the sentence by your revert. KillerChihuahua 01:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I definitely prefer KillerC's version which was an improvement on my own. Motsebboh (talk) 01:39, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Viable means "able to survive independently" so there is nothing wrong with it. I have no preference between womb and uterus. I think womb is more of a British term. Per WP:MEDMOS we recommend the writing of the lead using easy to understand English. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:25, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, "viable" was discussed in one of the marathon type discussions that we tend to get into here and it lost out. I think it's the best term. As for womb, nobody uses that term anymore and uterus is better, IMO. Gandydancer (talk) 15:25, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually lots of people use the term womb but uterus is better, more clinical. I'm more concerned with "survive on its own" which is just about the worst way to word it. Twenty-two-year-olds just out of college may or may not "survive on their own", someone lost in the forest may or may not be able to "survive on his/her own", but neither a fetus aborted at three months nor a healthy new born infant can "survive on its own". Motsebboh (talk) 16:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It appears we are agreed on uterus as preferable (or in one case, not less preferable) to womb, yes? KillerChihuahua 17:20, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Okay uterus it is. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:09, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Excellent. How do we stand on "survive on its own"? I prefer "viable" which is the term linked. As had been noted, there are accuracy issues with "survive on its own", so even if you don't care for "viable", please brainstorm and try to suggest alternate verbiage. Just toss out ideas at this point, no need to get to committed to any specific phrasing. Let's see what we can work out. KillerChihuahua 00:26, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

We mean literally "survive on its own" rather than figuratively like college students surviving on their own. I guess we could have a RfC if people wish. I am not a big fan of "viable" as it also have multiple meanings and is fairly complicated. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:27, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
No, healthy, full-term babies cannot "literally" survive on their own, either. That's why the existing phrasing is poor. Healthy, full term babies can survive outside of the uterus . . . they are viable, in that sense, unlike a 12-week-old fetus. But unlike the new born of many species, they do not have the instinctive abilities to "survive on their own." They need all sorts of direct outside help. Motsebboh (talk) 05:56, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Is this a real issue or are you just trying to find something to argue about? Wasting time arguing semantics is pointless, by that logic you would also have a hard time surviving "on your own" without "direct outside help" from supermarkets, plumbing and electricity. CFCF 💌 📧 08:03, 21 January 2016 (UTC) 
How about "by removing a fetus or embryo from the uterus before it can survive outside the uterus" or "by removing a fetus or embryo from the uterus before it can survive separate from the mother"? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:21, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I like the first one, but it could be shortened to "by removing a fetus or embryo from the uterus before it can survive outside the uterus" — I think where it is removed from is implied and shouldn't cause any misunderstanding. CFCF 💌 📧 08:36, 21 January 2016 (UTC) 
Sure would be happy with that aswell. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:44, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@CFCF You and I and most "normal" adults have the wherewithal to do the things, including intelligently seeking all kinds of help, to likely stay alive. Full term babies don't, though the new-born of many species do. "Survive on its own" is just bad phrasing here. That being said, I rather like your new formulation. Motsebboh (talk) 15:38, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Sorry but I reverted. Feel free to overrule me but that wasn't an improvement. The new wording has "the removal" without specifying wherefrom. It is possible to remove ectopic pregnancies but that is not an abortion. Also use of "the fetus" suggests there is a single fetus. Is it not possible to remove one of multiple fetus or just multiples at once? As for womb/uterus, it's the same thing with different etymologies. The Latin root always sounds more clinical, but the meaning is the same. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 16:33, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

"A fetus" would also mean just one, though the use of either A or THE isn't really an issue for me. However, "survive on its own" certainly is. Very imprecise phrasing. "REMOVAL . . before it can survive OUTSIDE the uterus" pretty plainly tells the reader what the fetus has been removed from. In any case, using "uterus" or "womb" twice in the sentence is far better than saying "survive on its own". Motsebboh (talk) 17:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I do not have strong position regarding which. Ever do you have a proposed wording? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:37, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I suppose this is beating a dead horse, but I can't help but note that if we defined abortion the way that almost everyone uses the term: as the removal of the fetus from the uterus in order to cause its demise at any time during gestation, then we wouldn't have run into this problem. "Survive on its own" is terrible phrasing. Motsebboh (talk) 22:05, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 January 2016[edit]

I want to help your page by adding up to date facts about abortion.

2601:601:8200:190A:A008:6476:716B:AA4E (talk) 20:39, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. --Majora (talk) 20:44, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Does surgery have a lower risk of side effects?[edit]

The article states, "During the second trimester, surgery may have a lower risk of side effects.[3][4][5]" but I can't find good RS to support this statement.

The abstract from the first ref offered says only: Routine use of cervical preparation with osmotic dilators, mifepristone or misoprostol after 14 weeks gestation reduces complications; at early gestational ages, surgical abortions have very few complications. Perhaps there is more in the article but this seems quite straight forward re safety.

The second abstract says: Based on existing evidence, the Society of Family Planning recommends that, when labor induction abortion is performed in the second trimester, combined use of mifepristone and misoprostol is the ideal regimen to effect abortion quickly and completely. but does not compare it to surgical abortion.

In the third ref Cochrane compared different forms of medical methods but did not compare them to surgical methods.

According to the 2006 WHO Frequently asked clinical questions about medical abortion, regarding factors that should be taken into account when counseling a woman about her choice between medical and surgical abortion:[1] There is little, if any, difference between medical and surgical abortion in terms of safety and efficacy. Thus, both methods are similar from a medical point of view and there are only very few situations where a recommendation for one or the other method for medical reasons can be given.


  1. ^ International Consensus Conference on Non-surgical (Medical) Abortion in Early First Trimester on Issues Related to Regimens and Service Delivery (2006). Frequently asked clinical questions about medical abortion (PDF). Geneva: World Health Organization. ISBN 92-4-159484-5. 

I would like to remove the info that states that surgery has a lower risk of side effects. Thoughts? Gandydancer (talk) 14:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Ref says "Fewer women experienced adverse events with D&E compared with mifepristone combined with misoprostol (OR 0.06; 95% CI 0.01–0.76), although there were no differences in efficacy between the two groups." in reference to abortion after 12 weeks.[6]
But there was not much data to base this on. And it than concludes "Evidence for comparing surgical versus medical methods of abortion in the second trimester is limited primarily because many women are not willing to be randomized between surgical and medical methods." So agree and trimmed. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:24, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

"Safe and effective"[edit]

In "The drug mifepristone in combination with prostaglandin appears to be as safe and effective as surgery during the first and second trimester of pregnancy" the words "safe and effective" imply that we take a stance on abortion, in contradiction to WP:IMPARTIAL. I suggest replacing them with something neutral or rephrasing the sentence somehow. Brandmeistertalk 17:20, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, it is kind of a smiley face way of talking about a procedure that disposes of an incipient human, even though we all know that "safe and effective" is referring to the patient. I suppose we could actually place "for the patient" after "safe and effective." Motsebboh (talk) 17:52, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
We are comparing one to the other. Therefore regardless of how one interprets the terms it is accurate. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:37, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
"Safe and effective" in that context is a relative phrase, as this issue also involves the fetus. Wikipedia does not engage in disputes and endorse a particular point of view, as such a clarification is appropriate. Brandmeistertalk 12:46, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I do not see it as an issue. Also this is the terminology our sources use. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:55, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
These sources, being medical, may take a pro-abortion stance, while we are encouraged to write impartially, without endorsing a particular point of view. Per WP:NPOV policy, "even where a topic is presented in terms of facts rather than opinions, inappropriate tone can be introduced through the way in which facts are selected, presented, or organized." I propose the wording "safe and effective for the mother", if the phrase "safe and effective" is to be retained. Something like this would make it more neutral, without pro-life flavor, methinks. Brandmeistertalk 13:30, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
This takes the stance that our readers are idiots who do not understand that the fetus does not survive an abortion. This is against policy.CFCF 💌 📧 13:58, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
It does sometimes. Actually, on a number of occasions. Brandmeistertalk 15:42, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Why would we write about the safety of a medical procedure to someone other than the patient? Some medical procedures carry risks to doctors and nurses too, but that's not the common understanding of the phrase; when we talk about the safety of a vaccine we don't write "safe and effective for the patient" just because a medico could get stuck with a needle and contract an illness like HIV. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 17:02, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
@Brandmeister I have some sympathy for the the general point you are making but I must say that the phrase "safe and effective for the mother" drives me up the wall because the woman is probably getting the abortion because she doesn't want to be a mother or, at least, a mother with another child. Motsebboh (talk) 21:46, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
That's a provisional suggestion. It's possible to offer some other wording. Brandmeistertalk 07:57, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • When we talk about the medical aspects of abortion, we talk about their safety and efficacy. That's how medical treatments are discussed. This doesn't constitute "taking a pro-abortion stance"; it constitutes following the best available sources on the subject, which we are bound by site policy to do. I don't really give a shit what you all choose to do in the sections devoted to arguing pro-choice or pro-life politics, but I do care deeply that the medical information we present is accurate and consistent with the best available sources (all the more so given the prevalence of misinformation about abortion). I'm not willing to compromise between accurate, concise, source-based descriptions of the medical aspects of abortion on the one hand, and the personal opinions of a couple of partisan Wikipedia editors on the other hand. MastCell Talk 02:00, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
When you shave in the morning, MastCell, you see a partisan Wikipedia editor. The fact of the matter is that the second paragraph of the lead has largely been structured to endorse abortion rights. Motsebboh (talk) 02:15, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm comfortable that my record on medical articles speaks for itself. Any text that describes the medical aspects of abortion accurately and neutrally is likely to appear, to some editors, to "endorse abortion rights". That's the price of doing business in an encyclopedia that anyone can edit; we've been down this road before, and will be again, I'm sure. MastCell Talk 04:21, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
@Your edit summary, MastCell: Please stay off any highway that I happen to be on. Motsebboh (talk) 05:21, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
After some consideration, I propose "in this regard", either in the form "In this regard, the drug mifepristone in combination with prostaglandin..." or in the form "appears to be as safe and effective in this regard as surgery..." This clarifies the perspective and appears more smooth and neutral. Brandmeistertalk 17:20, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
That doesn't add anything, and certainly does not "clarify". CFCF 💌 📧 10:37, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
@Brandmeister. I think what bothers you here is the abrupt, clinical tone of the statement about abortion techniques, which comes before any acknowledgment of the huge moral controversy over abortion. Perhaps the opening paragraphs of the lead could be reworked so that this controversy is acknowledged BEFORE we talk about medical versus surgical abortion. Motsebboh (talk) 02:01, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd support that. As it stands, "appears to be as safe and effective as surgery during the first and second trimester of pregnancy" appears to violate WP:NOTHOWTO, encouraging women to take mifepristone and prostaglandin if they want an abortion. The policy explicitly advises against an article that reads like a medical manual. The addition of "in that regard" to the sentence would clarify that this is about medical abortion method wikilinked in the preceding sentence. Brandmeistertalk 09:43, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
@Motsebboh: Per your suggestion I've moved the "When allowed by local law" sentence to the beginning of the second paragraph without modifying the rest. Brandmeistertalk 09:07, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@Brandmeister: Yes, that's a good edit. But I think even earlier in the lead some mention should be made of the moral controversy surrounding abortion so that the basic reason that abortion is not always allowed by law is clearer to the reader. Motsebboh (talk) 16:15, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Access to contraceptives and abortion rates[edit]

Currently the article lead says "Abortion rates changed little between 2003 and 2008,[1] before which they decreased for at least two decades due to better access to family planning and birth control."[2]


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Sedgh_2012 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Sedgh G, Henshaw SK, Singh S, Bankole A, Drescher J (September 2007). "Legal abortion worldwide: incidence and recent trends". Int Fam Plan Perspect 33 (3): 106–116. doi:10.1363/ifpp.33.106.07. PMID 17938093. 

I don't see where the source actually says this. Rather, I see places where the source hints at or suggests that greater access to modern contraceptives has or may eventually lead to lower abortion rates, or notes that it has "coincided" with declines in abortion rates in an area of the world, but nowhere do I see the source flatly saying that it caused an overall two decade long decline in abortions. Motsebboh (talk) 18:12, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

I changed the text from due to to along with. This is the type of thing that may be hard to prove, and as such I don't really mind changing it, unless someone finds a quality source that does state this. CFCF 💌 📧 20:08, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
In all due respect, English syntax is neither your strong suit, Carl, nor Doc James's. As worded now : "they (abortion rates) decreased for at least two decades along with better access to family planning and birth control", it sounds as if BOTH abortion rates and access to family planning and birth control decreased at the same time. I'll work on it. Motsebboh (talk) 22:01, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
With all due respect, the word "better" is included in the sentence. Unless you are implying that our readers believe less access to family planning and birth control is better—insulting others only serves to create an adversarial environment. CFCF 💌 📧 22:43, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Atmospherics aside, I agree that "along with" doesn't really work as a conjunction here, as the sentence is currently structured; in that it does not convey the meaning that is intended, and does convey a meaning which is not intended. That said, the whole of the sentence structure is strange, following neither a chronological nor an importance order; it may be better reworked completely. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 23:52, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that would probably be a good project for you, RyK. @ CFCF Within all due respect, I was not trying to be insulting. I was trying to be accurate. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I was never a hurdler or a long distance runner and, unlike you and Doc James, I know next to nothing about medicine. However, I think I can spot unsatisfactory prose pretty well. Best Regards. Motsebboh (talk) 02:16, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
With increased access to family planning and birth control, abortion rates decreased over the two decades prior to 2003; they have remained constant from 2003 to 2008. Thoughts? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 10:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, that's better Ryk. I would replace "birth control" with "modern contraceptives", since abortion really is a form of birth control. Frankly, I have doubts about linking increased access to contraceptives with declining abortion rates but our source pushes the idea. "Constant" may be a little too strong a word. Motsebboh (talk) 14:27, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
With normal language usage abortion is not really a form of birth control. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:23, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Right, Doc. And with "normal language usage" late terminations of pregnancies are really a form of abortion, but we all have our quirks. Motsebboh (talk) 16:44, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Slanted subsection[edit]

The "Maternal and fetal health" subsection currently looks US-slanted, with two paragraphs dedicated solely to the US. I think we can either replace something there with info on other countries or trim some text. Brandmeistertalk 20:21, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Duplicate in the lead[edit]

This was added to the lead "Historically, abortion has been the subject of moral and legal debate, particularly from the latter decades of the 20th century when it was legalized in many countries."

While we already had "In many places there is much debate over the moral, ethical, and legal issues of abortion."

Not sure we need to say it twice and therefore trimmed. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Bad move, Doc. The moral debate over abortion should be mentioned very early in the lead. It should certainly be mentioned before the modern day technical comparison of medical versus surgical abortion. The second paragraph of the lead begins "When allowed by local law . . " The uninitiated reader should therefore be given a cue as to why the procedure is sometimes not allowed by local law. Moreover, look at the big picture here. The whole reason we have MANY lengthy articles about abortion in Wikipedia is because of the great controversy surrounding abortion. We do not have articles on cardiac surgery in Canada, the Philippines, Ireland, the Netherlands, etc, as we do on abortion because cardiac surgery is less medically important than abortion. We do not have them because they do not present the moral and political controversy that abortion does. Thus the main article on abortion should acknowledge this controversy up front. Other items in lead can then be modified as we see fit. Motsebboh (talk) 03:22, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
We do in the 4th paragraph. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
That's not responsive to my points above. Motsebboh (talk) 16:14, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The lead follows the same sequence as the body of the article. I do not see justification to move it. Doc James (talk · contribsemail) 11:16, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I didn't see where WP:LEAD tells us that items in the lead must be presented in the same order as they are in the body but maybe it's there. However I did see where WP:LEAD tells us that the lead should "explain why the topic is notable" and, more specifically, that the FIRST PARAGRAPH of the lead "should establish the context in which the topic is being considered by supplying the set of circumstances that surround it." The most important set of circumstances surrounding abortion is that the procedure is controversial. That's why this comparatively basic procedure has such a huge article on it here in Wikipedia and why there are dozens of subsidiary articles on it. I hope this helps. Motsebboh (talk) 17:33, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I would disagree that the most important bit is that it is controversial. The most important bit is what it is and than how it is done and its safety. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:46, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
If you want to make war on reasonable assumptions no one is going to stop you. But I will tell you that this is exactly what you are doing. The Wikipedia articles on other controversial procedures in medicine such as lobotomy, conversion therapy, circumcision all mention the controversy or debate that they entail earlier in their articles than we have done here. Yet the amount of controversy over abortion in modern times dwarfs all of these combined. You might take a gander at the listings of abortion related Wikipedia categories (each containing its own abortion related articles articles) [7] and ask yourself what small fraction of these would exist were abortion not controversial. Motsebboh (talk) 04:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The importance of a subtopic is not calculated by adding up the number of pages Wikipedia has on the topic. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:52, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
And your calculation would be what? As the lead now stands, the second paragraph twice alludes to the fact that abortion is sometimes not legal. Yet the reader has not been given a clue in either the first or second paragraph as to why. The reader should be given an idea of WHY abortion might be illegal in certain places before its illegal status in some places is mentioned. Motsebboh (talk) 16:59, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Excessive repetition does not improve the lede, nor does moving this to the first paragraph help the reader understand what abortion is. It is sufficient to mention it in the fourth paragraph, there is a very clear order starting with an overview of what abortion is, then to safety and epidemiology etc. CFCF 💌 📧
I agree that excessive repetition doesn't help the article. But superior placement of material does; like telling the reader that a procedure is highly controversial BEFORE telling the reader that it is illegal in many places. We aren't writing detective stories here . . keep reading and we will tell you why! Motsebboh (talk) 00:48, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Ambiguous and/or misleading sentence in the lead[edit]

The first sentence in the second paragraph of the lead: "When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is one of the safest procedures in medicine." seems off to me. For example, it seems implausible that having an abortion is safer than having your X-ray taken or taking an aspirin. So I would want to know what the word "procedure" is supposed to mean here. In the second citation it appears they are referring to surgical procedures. So I would have added the word "surgical" to the sentence, except that (a) this is not supported by the quote from the first citation ("By contrast, legal abortion in industrialised nations has emerged as one of the safest procedures in contemporary medical practice, with minimum morbidity and a negligible risk of death.") and (b) the subsequent sentences say that abortion can be either a medication or a surgery, so it wouldn't make sense to say that it is the abortion as a whole (either medical or surgical) is one of the safest surgeries. The first citation doesn't seem to argue for its claim that abortion is one of the safest procedures (it is about the safety of abortion but doesn't compare it to other medical procedures), so I don't get any clue from there.

If there is a commonly-accepted definition of "medical procedure" that it seems likely the first citation is using, then could someone edit to make that more clear? I don't have the expertise to assess that. Otherwise, it seems that the best choice might be to add the word "surgical" as mentioned above...

David9550 (talk) 16:40, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

That it "seems implausible" means nothing without looking at the actual evidence, which supports this statement. CFCF 💌 📧 21:37, 2 February 2016 (UTC) 
Where is the evidence that abortion is safer than X-ray and aspirin? Or did you mean that it is safer than most "medical procedures"? What is a "medical procedure"? David9550 (talk) 10:50, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Abortion is safer than childbirth. Aspirin and x-rays have nothing to do with it. Binksternet (talk) 12:56, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Well why don't we just say that then? (The sentence currently says that abortion is "one of the safest procedures in medicine", and I don't think that whether it is safer than childbirth is relevant to that claim. But I think it would read fine as "safer than childbirth".) David9550 (talk) 23:25, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
That there are procedures that are safer than abortions does not mean it isn't among the safest in medicine. If you're questioning the claim I would suggest checking the source, and also I suggest reading up on the real dangers of both Aspirin: e.g. Reye syndrome, Analgesic nephropathy, Upper gastrointestinal bleeding & X-rays: e.g. Radiation-induced cancer. CFCF 💌 📧 23:34, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I did look at both sources and summarized what I found in my original comment. I did not find any real argument or data analysis supporting the claim, just pure assertion, and that without any clarification of definitions. (The source does cite a different article (Hogberg Joelsson 1985) which I can't seem to find a copy of, but it is not really clear what it is claiming that this article says, and based on the abstract it seems unlikely to support the sentence the way it is currently phrased in Wikipedia. If you know how to get a copy of this article then I will look at it.) I am aware that X-rays and aspirin are not without their dangers (that's why I used them as examples), but this does not change the fact that there is no reliable source comparing them with abortion. David9550 (talk) 00:37, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
And why would we need a source to compare aspirin and X-rays with abortion? Looking up the 1985 source won't change anything—Wikipedia does not engage in peer review and we have no reason to doubt the veracity or strength of the current cited article.
So, again, either refute the statement with a similar high quality source, or explain how the source doesn't support the claim in this article — your previous argument which arbitrarily split medical and surgical procedures is not only wrong, but terribly misinformed (see medical procedure). CFCF 💌 📧 01:10, 10 February 2016 (UTC) 
I should clarify that I meant to say "there is no reliable source comparing them or a reference class containing them with abortion". I agree that it would be silly to ask for a source that specifically talked about aspirin and X-rays.
I think the statement from the source is taken out of context, as the original sentence says "with minimum morbidity and a negligible risk of death", suggesting that these are the claims that the data really support, and that the "one of the safest procedures" remark is just a POV way of summarizing these claims. The way it reads in the Wikipedia article makes it sound like the claim is a summary of data comparing abortion versus other medical procedures, which a reading of the sources suggests is simply not true.
The split into surgical and non-surgical procedures I suggested originally is not arbitrary; it was based on the fact that the second source is a comparison of surgical abortion against other surgical procedures.
I don't think that Wikipedia's definition of a "medical procedure" is clear enough to distinguish boundary cases in a way that would make an assertion like "abortion is safer than most medical procedures" meaningful.
Can I make the alternate suggestion "When allowed by local law, abortion in the developed world is very safe according to a number of metrics, including being safer than childbirth"? That seems to be a fair summary of the evidence to me. David9550 (talk) 12:20, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Late term abortion[edit]

Is NOT the same thing as late termination of pregnancy. Late term is simply after 17 weeks[8] to 20 weeks and before viability.[9] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:24, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Doc, the opening sentence of the Wikipedia article on late termination of pregnancy gives FIVE other names for the procedure All describing it as a kind of ABORTION! Don't you think we might tell the reader HERE this this procedure is also commonly known as an abortion?? Use your common sense. Motsebboh (talk) 17:17, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes the late termination of pregnancy contained stuff not supported by the references in question. I have corrected some of it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:45, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, now the first sentence of the late termination of pregnancy article only lists THREE other names for the procedure, ALL of which call it . . guess what . . AN ABORTION! Motsebboh (talk) 03:55, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Sure and we state "A similar procedure after the fetus could potentially survive outside the womb is known as a "late termination of pregnancy" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:51, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and why bother to do that if the article is about ABORTION, not LATE TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY, unless lots of people who are not Doc James routinely call the latter procedure an abortion?? Hence, a sentence such as " A similar procedure performed after the fetus could potentially survive outside the womb, though often called an abortion, is medically known as a late termination of pregnancy. "Though often called an abortion" alerts the reader as to the reason for this information. Motsebboh (talk) 16:33, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
When false beliefs are widespread it is better to educate than to pander to ignorance. Unless you find applicable WP:MEDRS-compliant sources for your statements it is merely opinion, bearing no weight. CFCF 💌 📧 23:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
You mean the "false beliefs" of many MDs who also call "late termination of pregnancy" abortion? Here's the FIRST SENTENCE of the article on Late termination of pregnancy since Doc James got a hold of it TODAY and eliminated as many of the synonyms calling it "abortion" as he could find justification for doing.
Late termination of pregnancy (TOP),[1] also known as postviability abortion,[2] ITOP,[3] or simply abortion[4] are terminations of pregnancy which are performed during a later stage of pregnancy.
Note that this sentence says also known as . . . It DOES NOT say falsely known as . . . or known to the ignorant as . . . So, to answer your question, Carl, the "applicable compliant sources" which make it more than merely my opinion are right in the first sentence of our article on Late termination of pregnancy. Motsebboh (talk) 00:36, 2 February 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ Graham, RH; Robson, SC; Rankin, JM (January 2008). "Understanding feticide: an analytic review.". Social science & medicine (1982) 66 (2): 289–300. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.08.014. PMID 17920742. 
  2. ^ Guttmacher Institute. "State Policies in Brief, An Overview of Abortion Laws" (PDF). Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Duke, C. Wes (September 2009). "Challenges and Priorities for Surveillance of Stillbirths: A Report on Two Workshops". Public Health Rep 124 (5): 652–659. PMC 2728657. PMID 19753943. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1972). Retrieved 2011-04-14. is a legal site, which uses broader non-standard terminology. As I said, find me a WP:MEDRS source, not just any source. CFCF 💌 📧 00:45, 2 February 2016 (UTC) 

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Guttmacher is already used as a source in Late termination of pregnancy but here 's a brand new article (Feb 1, 2016) where it uses the term "postviability abortion" (first page of source) rather than "late termination of pregnancy". I guess it decided to pander to the ignorant. [10] Motsebboh (talk) 01:41, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm growing very tired of this nonsense, that is a completely different term. CFCF 💌 📧 21:32, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
A completely different term from what? Do you know what this discussion is actually about, Carl?? I'm getting the impression that you don't. Motsebboh (talk) 23:18, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I admit that I find reading text with random capitalization and excessive exclamation marks tiring, but we're not getting away from the fact that you are incorrectly consolidating three terms: "late termination of pregnancy"; "late term abortion"; and "postviability abortion". CFCF 💌 📧 00:54, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I've noticed this in a number of your comments here and on other Talk pages. You sometimes don't seem to quite get the gist of what is being said. I am not recommending that we change the title of the article Late termination of pregnancy to " _____-_____ abortion." If that were the case, I would be arguing on that article's talk page, not here. Nor am I saying that a term such as "postviability abortion" is just as good, or as clinically correct, as "late termination of pregnancy. What I'm recommending is that just as Late termination of pregnancy quickly alerts readers that there are other commonly used names for the procedure (usually "_________ abortion"), the abortion article should quickly alert the reader that, though the term abortion is often used for a "similar procedure" after the fetus is viable, "late termination of pregnancy" is the "official" name for it. Motsebboh (talk) 01:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
This is an overview. All the other specific names belong on the subpage. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:47, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Sez you. In an article about ABORTION why bother to mention a procedure that isn't abortion (in the opening paragraph, no less) unless lots of people call it abortion? And if lots of people call it abortion then why not note it? You are actually working at cross purposes with yourself here. You want folks to know this procedure as "late termination of pregnancy" rather than abortion, but when they use the link to go to late termination of pregnancy the FIRST THING THEY SEE is that it is also known as ABORTION. Thus they are perfectly entitled to think that abortion is just as a good a name for it as late termination of pregnancy. Motsebboh (talk) 04:26, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
You could try a RfC. I disagree with presenting the wrong term for late termination of pregnancy in the lead of this article. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:13, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
You disagree with presenting the wrong term for late termination of pregnancy in the lead of this article on abortion, but you agree with including info on the wrong procedure in the lead of this article on abortion. I have trouble with your reasoning there. 05:03, 9 February 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Motsebboh (talkcontribs)
I agree with Doc James, try an RfC. CFCF 💌 📧 23:26, 9 February 2016 (UTC)