Miscarriage Is Abortion, And Here's Why That Matters

by Katie Vandegrift
Originally Published: 
Mother holding her baby's pink clothes and a hospital abortion document
Katie Vandegrift

If you’ve had a miscarriage and made the decision to take medication to end the pregnancy, the state of Kentucky wants to track it. That is what Senate Bill 50 would do. I cannot fathom why the sponsors of this bill want this to become law other than that they want the number of abortions in the state to look inflated so they can use the data to horrify people and ultimately criminalize something women have no control over.

Abortion is a broad term, and it also is not a choice. It means different things to different people, but it is important to recognize how medical professionals use the term. Abortion is commonly defined as the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.

I was shocked when I read the paperwork after my first miscarriage. It stated the diagnosis as a “missed abortion.” I thought, “Wait, this was a wanted baby… how could it be labeled an abortion?” I started doing research and found that this is the term charted by medical professionals when a woman “miscarries” or has an “elective” abortion.

All three of the losses my husband and I have had ended with the decision for me to either be prescribed medication, have a D&C, and be induced. With the first two, I could have waited to “spontaneously abort,” but the thought of carrying around a dead fetus was not something I could handle. With the third, I did not have many options, as I was 18 weeks pregnant and the risk of carrying a deceased fetus inside of me would become more life threatening as time passed, if my body did not “spontaneously abort” on its own. The thought of birthing at home was also not something I could handle and would be dangerous because of the risk of a retained placenta. My options then were to either be induced or have a D&E. Again, all these options are forms of abortion.

I understand why we use the layman’s term “miscarriage” instead of “abortion.” I’ve read the stories of many women who’ve miscarried and were outraged when their medical paperwork had the word abortion in it. I understand their anger, but it does not change the fact that miscarriage is abortion.

This revelation is why I continue to fight the Commonwealth’s intention of outlawing all abortions. These legislators either have no idea how their laws can affect all women, or they don’t care. Either is unacceptable.

I don’t go a day without seeing or hearing someone saying, “abortion is murder.”

I don’t think I’m a criminal. I’m sure the millions of women who have miscarried don’t think of themselves as criminals either. For some reason, many legislators are determined to label us all that way anyway.

These laws do not differentiate between elective or spontaneous abortions.

I have reached out to all 100 House Representatives and spoken at a Senate committee hearing, and no one who has either voted for or is a proponent of these abortion bills can tell me how they affect women who miscarry.

This is why it is so important for doctors and pregnant women to be able to make informed decisions no matter what the circumstances are.

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