Chrissy Teigen revealed that her previous pregnancy loss she considered to be a miscarriage was actually an abortion.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, during a talk at a private event in Beverly Hills, Teigen shared that what she — and later, countless headlines — described as a miscarriage in her 20th week of pregnancy that resulted in the loss of her third child was actually an abortion she chose in order to save her life.
“Two years ago, when I was pregnant with Jack, John and my third child, I had to make a lot of difficult and heartbreaking decisions. It became very clear around halfway through that he would not survive, and that I wouldn’t either without any medical intervention,” Teigen said, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Let’s just call it what it was: It was an abortion,” Teigen continued. “An abortion to save my life for a baby that had absolutely no chance. And to be honest, I never, ever put that together until, actually, a few months ago.”
Teigen confirmed the account of her speech, retweeting the Hollywood Reporter's story with a statement: "I told you all we had a miscarriage because I thought that was what it was. But it was an abortion, and we were heartbroken and grateful all at once. It just took me over a year to realize it."
Dr. Diane Horvath, an OBGYN and abortion provider who specializes in later abortion care, says that abortions that occur later in pregnancy often look extremely similar to a miscarriage.
"What procedure we use to provide an abortion later in pregnancy depends on a variety of factors — the patient's medical history; the gestation of the pregnancy; the conditions that the fetus might have — and that all goes in to whether or not we do an induction of labor or a surgical procedure," Horvath told TODAY Parents. "I cannot comment on what Chrissy Teigen experienced, but I will say that beyond a certain point in pregnancy for most people, (an abortion later in pregnancy) would be a labor induction."
Horvath explains that the same medications and process that are used in a later abortion via induction are used to start labor for a viable pregnancy or in the case of a fetus that has died in utero.
"They're identical," she explained. "It takes several days, because we want to allow the body to move through the labor process gently and slowly because we know it works and it's safe. So we spend a few days helping the cervix open and soften and then we give medication to produce contractions much in the same way as if you were inducing a labor at term for a living pregnancy.
"It is the same care we would give somebody who comes in the hospital and has a fetal demise," she added.
Horvath also explains that it is not uncommon for people who have abortions later in pregnancy — for a variety of reasons — to consider them to be losses or miscarriages.
"I am fully supportive of the right of every person who experiences a miscarriage or an abortion to identify it for themselves in a way that makes the most sense to them," she explained. "There are people who get abortions later in pregnancy and it's a loss for them, and they experience it as a miscarriage or a pregnancy loss. That we brought about the loss through a series of medications or surgical procedures isn't important to that individual person — it's that they're losing a pregnancy. I'm never going to argue with somebody what they're choosing to call their own experience."
Horvath does add that in the end, every time a provider "does a labor induction to deliver a pregnancy that we know is not going to survive" it is medically considered an abortion.
"We're bringing about a birth and terminating a pregnancy that we know won't end with a living baby," she added. "That's an abortion."
Teigen, a model, mother of two and best-selling cook book author, recently announced she is pregnant again. She shared that it wasn’t until she expressed heartbreak for the people who would be impacted by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade that it occurred to her that her “miscarriage” was actually an abortion.
When Teigen told her husband, John Legend, that she “felt sympathy towards people who have an abortion and the circumstances they had to go through and the emotional decision ‘they’ had to make,” the Hollywood Reporter said, Legend told her that she was one of those people.
“I fell silent, feeling weird that I hadn’t made sense of it that way,” Teigen said at the event. “I told the world we had a miscarriage, the world agreed we had a miscarriage, all the headlines said it was a miscarriage. And I became really frustrated that I didn’t, in the first place, say what it was, and I felt silly that it had taken me over a year to actually understand that we had had an abortion.”
Horvath says that while abortion later in pregnancy certainly existed prior to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade, the aftermath has highlighted just how similar miscarriages and abortions can appear, medically.
"Now that we've criminalized abortion — and certainly every miscarriage looks just like an abortion and every abortion looks like a miscarriage — everything is under suspicion," she explained. "So I do not at all blame people for not necessarily wanting to identify that they've had an abortion.
"I would love it if people felt free to talk about their abortion stories and also just to see how many people have been through the same experience and gain solidarity and support and know that there's people who have been through this and you're not alone," Horvath added. "I think a lot of people who have abortions feel very alone, but it's one of the most common experiences you can have as a pregnancy-capable person."
CORRECTION (Nov. 9, 2022 at 7 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story misspelled Teigen's last name as "Tiegen" twice. It has since been corrected.