Abortion Modifiers:

  • We use the term “medication abortion” instead of “medical abortion” to represent medication-based methods to terminate pregnancies, and avoid implying medical necessity (Weitz 2004).
  • We use the term “telemedicine” medication abortion, vs. “telehealth,” which implies allied health fields in many global settings, rather than “no-touch” or “minimal contact”. 
  • We use the terms “in clinic” or “aspiration abortion” instead of “surgical abortion” or “dilation and curettage” to avoid suggesting abortion is a surgical procedure requiring incisions or sharp curettage (ACOG 2022). Access to specific procedures may vary.
  • We use the term “self-managed abortion (SMA)” as an umbrella term to refer to any actions or activities undertaken to end a pregnancy outside of the formal healthcare system. This has historically included the use of herbs, botanicals, supplements, self-harm, or obtaining a clandestine procedural abortion, as well as medications.  While many other terms may be used (self-sourced, self-induced, self-managed medication abortion), best practice is to specifically describe the type and method of abortion that was used to avoid misunderstanding.

Abortion Indications:

  • We avoid “elective vs. therapeutic” abortion, which imply a moral rather than a medical judgment on which patients are entitled to abortion care (Watson 2018).

Pregnancy loss:

  • We  use the terms “early pregnancy loss” and “miscarriage” interchangeably, avoiding the term “pregnancy failure” which can leave patients feeling responsible.

Person-centered care

  • We use “person-centered” as well as “patient-centered care” to broaden the perspective, considering the whole life of the patient influenced by care (Eklund 2019). 

Gender-neutral language:

  • We use gender-neutral language to recognize that a wide spectrum of individuals need reproductive and abortion care (trans men, nonbinary persons, etc, as reproductive care is not restricted to cis women). We use the terms “person”, “patient” and singular “they” (Moseson 2020), except when reporting gender specific research.” 
  • Where possible, we also use “Latinx/e” to describe a diverse group of people who have roots in Latin America in order to challenge the gender binary. The objective of these terms is also to remove gender from Spanish, replacing it with a gender-neutral Spanish letter.  


TEACH Abortion Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. All Rights Reserved.