Currently the tag is defined as follows:

Abortion is a quasi-medical procedure in which a physician terminates a woman's pregnancy. It is a contentious political issue in many countries. Use this tag to discuss the politics surrounding the legality of the procedure.

The dictionary definitions I have found do not include the term "quasi-medical". This does not add anything to the meaning of the tag, but it does imply that abortion is not a legitimate practice.

The definition also excludes terminations carried out by non-physicians, which does not match the usual definition.

I suggest that the tag be redefined as:

The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, killing the embryo or fetus. It is a contentious political issue in many countries. Use this tag to discuss the politics surrounding the legality of the procedure.

  • 11
    I think it may have been intended in the sense of "non-surgical", rather than "not legitimate". Either way, it is easily confused so I've just removed the word "quasi" for now.
    – user11249
    Sep 14, 2018 at 15:09
  • 2
    No, that's not true, @MartinTournoij. The "quasi-" prefix is there because people who acknowledge the personhood of a zygote, embryo, or fetus believe that abortion is not allowed under the Hippocratic Oath, summarized commonly as "first do no harm." What's not allowed under the oath is not medical. I think that the proposal ("deliberate termination"...) is better because it sidesteps this question. It would be OK without the words, "killing the embryo or fetus", and still not require words like "quasi-medical". Sep 14, 2018 at 16:42
  • 3
    @elliotsvensson yet abortion is carried out by medical professionals. The same goes for euthanasia (otherwise it'd probably be called assisted suicide).
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 14, 2018 at 20:04
  • 5
    @JJJ, in over one hundred countries abortion is not performed by medical professionals except under very specific conditions, based on their local laws. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law Sep 14, 2018 at 20:10
  • 4
    @elliotsvensson that link shows that it's available on request in many Western countries. I don't really see how that would justify the 'quasi' part. Philip's change seems to avoid hurting anyone's feelings. ;)
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 14, 2018 at 20:17
  • That's all Paul was asking for anyway, I think. Sep 14, 2018 at 20:29
  • 5
    I don't think your proposal to add the killing terminology was an improvement. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion which manages not to use it. Sep 14, 2018 at 20:38
  • @elliotsvensson The (original) Hippocratic oath is inconsistent with quite a lot of modern medicine. The first thing it starts with is promising to revere your teacher more than your parents and to take care of him for the rest of his life! It also includes an oath to never use the knife (which means no scalpel and no surgeries to say the least). The original oath does specifically mention abortion, though only forbids the use of a pessary to do so. Sep 17, 2018 at 4:38
  • 3
    @elliotsvensson Its not so much to "avoid hurting people's feelings" as not prejudging the issue. Sep 17, 2018 at 6:56
  • @zibadawatimmy, I had tried in my comment to indicate that I wasn't talking about the entire oath, or even the prohibition against "an abortive pessary", but about the principle that people really still do talk about in medical ethics, "First do no harm". Sep 17, 2018 at 14:02
  • 1
    The medically accurate term for the medical condition commonly referred to as "miscarriage" is abortion, as in "threatened abortion," "inevitable abortion," "spontaneous abortion." Medically, there's no such thing as a miscarriage - it's called a spontaneous abortion, and when it's a spontaneous incomplete abortion, it's a medical emergency. This is similar to the medical concept of gestation, which legally is understood to be a chronological measurement but in reality is actually an approximation based on growth. Oct 11, 2018 at 11:25
  • Imo, the use of "quasi" would be a quasi-accurate reflection of the legal and political references to abortion not reflecting a medically accurate or consistent understanding. And Phillipp's change is better, because it's Politics SE, not OB/Gyn SE. :P Oct 11, 2018 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


The purpose of the tag info is to provide a guidance to when the tag should be added to a question. Providing a wikipedia-like definition is only necessary when the tag is a particularly uncommon or niche word many users might not be familiar with.

I believe that everyone should know what the word "abortion" means, so we do not need to have the controversy about how to find a definition which neither offends pro-life nor pro-choice advocates.

I rewrote the tag info simply to:

Questions about politics related to abortion.

  • 9
    This is indeed a superior solution as it avoid (unnecessary) discussion of killing (see feticide) etc. Sep 14, 2018 at 20:31
  • As I wrote the original excerpt, I had no intention of trying to make it contentious in any way. If this solves the problem it works for me
    – Machavity
    Sep 20, 2018 at 23:43

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