Person-Centered Language in Abortion Research

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Abortion-related stigma is a significant barrier in preventing individuals from seeking necessary healthcare. Person-centered language within medical literature has the potential to help minimize stigma and thus, could have positive downstream effects on patient outcomes and access to care. By being intentional with language, abortion-related stigma may be decreased within literature and among the medical community.

Objectives: Our primary objective was to investigate adherence to person-centered language(PCL) in pregnancy termination-related publications.

Methods: This cross-sectional study searched Pubmed for abortion-related medical literature published from January 1, 2018, to March 7, 2021. Articles were then randomized and searched by two investigators using a list of predetermined, stigmatizing terms. Results: Of the 232 included articles, only 18.97% (44/232) were PCL adherent. Over half of the articles (127/232) included the term “service” in relation to an abortion procedure and was the most commonly used stigmatizing label. Other common labels included were “abortion provider”, “baby”, and “client”.

Conclusions: The majority of abortion-related articles did not adhere to PCL guidelines or the recommendations set forth by the Internal Planned Parenthood Federation’s “How To Talk About Abortion” guide. Access to a safe and legal abortion is of critical importance in reproductive healthcare. As a highly stigmatized medical procedure, the research community’s intentional use of PCL can help break down the perpetuation of this stigma.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2022
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022 : Poster Presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 14 Feb 202218 Feb 2022


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • abortion
  • women's health
  • stigma
  • patient-centered care
  • person-centered language
  • discrimination


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