Chrissy Teigen: When I lost Jack in 2020, it was technically an abortion

In 2020, Chrissy Teigen found herself pregnant. It was a surprise to her – she had a lot of trouble conceiving naturally, so her first two children were conceived using IVF, and this one was an “accident,” unplanned but not unwanted. She desperately wanted it, and the pregnancy was difficult from the start. Then, in late September, Chrissy lost the pregnancy and the baby she and John Legend had already named Jack. The word they used at the time was miscarriage and all we knew was that there were so many complications and Jack couldn’t be saved. Now, two years later, Chrissy spoke about what actually happened and why it was technically an abortion to save her life.

Chrissy Teigen confessed Thursday that the miscarriage she said she had two years ago was actually an abortion — which came as a surprise to her. Teigen and husband John Legend had revealed that in September 2020 they lost their son Jack at 20 weeks as a result of a pregnancy complication. At the time, they said it was a miscarriage.

Speaking at social impact agency Propper Daley’s “A Day of Unreasonable Conversation” summit, which was held Thursday, Teigen said the revelation that it was in fact an abortion came as a shock to her.

“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,” she said. Teigen, who shares Luna, 6, and Miles, 4, with Legend and is currently pregnant, noted she had great medical care and loving friends and family supporting her. She was also grateful for strangers who showed their support after the couple went public with the news.

She went on, discussing her miscarriage, before stopping herself. “Let’s just call it what it was: It was an abortion,” the star said. “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 said she came to the realization after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. She expressed to Legend that she felt sympathy toward people who have an abortion and the circumstances they had to go through and the emotional decision “they” had to make, when Legend made her realize that she was in fact one of those people.

“I fell silent, feeling weird that I hadn’t made sense of it that way,” Teigen shared. “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.”

[From THR]

The language around abortion, reproductive issues and miscarriages is already co-opted by political parties too often, and I’d like to offer a delicate solution for this situation. What it sounds like is… both a miscarriage AND an abortion. Jack wasn’t viable. The pregnancy would have killed her. She was already bleeding and losing Jack, and the doctors were clearly worried that Chrissy was going to die. She lost a baby. While I’m not a Teigen fan, I have complete compassion for her on this, and I appreciate that she’s talking about it this way. Abortion is health care, everything around pregnancies, miscarriages and abortion is health care. Of course, the worst MAGA garbage-monsters are attacking her for this. I don’t want to even give those pieces of sh-t a platform.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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40 Responses to “Chrissy Teigen: When I lost Jack in 2020, it was technically an abortion”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I don’t know all the details of her medical history obviously or anything beyond what she shared at the time (I’ve never been a Chrissy follower/fan, but we talked about it here), but I think its important that she’s talking about this now. Women have to make the same choice that she did on a regular basis and its not really a “choice” – the baby isn’t going to survive either way, and if action wasn’t taken then it sounds like Teigen wouldn’t have survived. That’s healthcare. This is what we mean when we saw abortion is healthcare.

  2. Naomi says:

    Last year I had an abortion for a planned pregnancy after finding out through a 10-week blood test that the fetus was at high risk of chromosomal disorder that made it nonviable, which was confirmed a week later with an intrauterine procedure. I had a D&C when 12 weeks pregnant. Everything went fine– I live in a blue state — and I’m grateful for the care I received.

    Abortion should be legal, free, and accessible no mater what the reason, of course! But I’m posting just to say that there is a language problem here, as Kaiser says. What I had was an abortion and not a miscarriage, but the feelings — the overwhelming grief at the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy–resemble what a lot of people feel who have had experienced miscarriages. (But with the turn of the screw that I was put in the position of “choosing” to terminate.)

    Reproductive life is messy! We need to be compassionate to one another and fight for access & rights to all that wanted and unwanted outcomes pregnancies might have.

    • Kiera says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for your loss and though I don’t know you am thinking of you and sending you a very big hug.

      I can’t imagine having gone through that. Your story is important for people to know, thank you for trusting us with it.

    • Bettyrose says:

      **hugs** Thank you for sharing that story. Reproductive healthcare is healthcare for people with uteruses. Abortion isn’t some obscure procedure only used wanton teens who need more church. (And even if it were it should be free, legal, and highly accessible).

    • Katherine says:

      I’m sorry you went through this and glad you got good care. Agree that abortions should be free. Also, while abortions in circumstances like this definitely feel like a miscarriage, people who get abortions because the pregnancy is unwanted also experience the feelings of grief, loss, etc. I think this is not talked about enough. People assume unwanted = person isn’t as upset about it. Both are very difficult situations, and each has its own psychological implications, but both pretty challenging to deal with for most people.

  3. Kkat says:

    I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, I started bleeding and went to the ER. They did an ultrasound and there was no heartbeat.

    I started bleeding very heavily, so they told me I needed immediate surgery.
    They knocked me out and did a D and C.
    So I too had both a miscarriage and an abortion.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    No woman should have to explain themselves when they want an abortion. It is NO ONES business.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    It’s good that she’s talking about this.

    • AMA1977 says:

      It is, but it’s also sad that she has to. I also am not a fan/follower, and I also feel the deepest sympathy for Chrissy, @Naomi, @Kkat, @Jones, and any other woman who has had to grapple with these terrible facts. When I was pregnant both times I had unexplained heavy bleeding around 15 weeks that sent me to the hospital, and I was absolutely terrified that I was losing a wanted child. I am very lucky and grateful that it was not the case either time.

      To the moron who says that “placental abruption is treatable” in Chrissy’s comments, STFU. Obviously not in this case, and not in many cases, and it can be fatal to the mother. The living, breathing, sentient mother.

      To all the CB-ers who have made the reproductive choices that were right for them, whether they were agonizing or liberating, or any point between the two, whether to preserve your mental or physical health or both, love and light to you. As a Texan, I am ashamed and furious that my state has decided that I am no longer in charge of my own body. As mom of a daughter in this state (who is not quite 10, so thinking ahead), I thank the stars above that my sister lives in MN where rational people govern in the event we need to make a spur-of-the-moment visit.

  6. SAS says:

    This is really important for her to share, and brave knowing the hate she’s going to get. It’s really daunting to sometimes feel like you don’t even have the language for whatever “women’s health” issue you’re dealing with. I’m going through this a bit at the moment and it isn’t even in the same universe as something as traumatic as birth injuries or pregnancy loss.

    She cops a lot of shit (including from me at times) but I will always admire how open she and John were about what they went through. I remember those photos were so staggeringly sad, and that my friend who had a late term loss felt like she could speak about it more openly due to Chrissy.

  7. butterflystella says:

    I have a story of not miscarriage (sympathy to you all) but an elective thermal ablation and D&C because of horrendous periods due to fibroids in my uterus. I also never had a period again (since 2012!) but now will women be able to.choose to do something like I did? Scary times in 2022…

  8. TrixC says:

    I think this is exactly what needs to be talked about more, because there isn’t a black and white line between miscarriage and abortion. Unless very early in pregnancy many miscarriages will require medical or surgical intervention.

  9. Lizzie Bathory says:

    I’m not a fan of Chrissy’s either, but I thought she worded this thoughtfully. That it took her a long time to realize that it *was* an abortion, since she was understandably grieving & since I’m guessing the medical team didn’t put it in those terms, was interesting.

    I really don’t think the folks who have pushed for years to overturn Roe gave any thought to what it would really mean if it happened. Gone are the days (in many states) when they or their daughters could protest outside Planned Parenthood one day & go inside for an abortion the next. Abortion is healthcare.

    • Sigmund says:

      Yes! Abortion IS healthcare, and this is an example of why it’s so important to remind people of that fact.

      It’s often not so black-and-white, and even the term “choice” can be misleading. If Chrissy and John had been given a true choice, I’m sure they would have picked the birth of a healthy baby boy. But they were presented with two bad options, and they were able to make a decision with the assistance of Chrissy’s doctor, as it should be.

  10. Steph says:

    My last comment didn’t make it through it was quite negative even though I stand by what I said.

    I wanted to start a conversation about why this is the only type of abortion story that seems to get sympathy (outside of maga lunatics). It’s only ok to get an abortion if it ensures someone won’t die.

    I recently (about 3 weeks ago) had an abortion. I got the abortion bc I don’t want kids. Full stop. No other reason. I was 5w3d along and my first appt was getting the abortion. So I have no idea if it was even viable. Didn’t matter to me. Alyssa Milano came out saying she had an abortion for almost the same reason. At the time, she didn’t want kids. But no one covered that. It’s not a relevant enough reason to to be pro choice.

    I want to hear the whole gamut of reasons to get an abortion to be amplified and accepted.

    One of my biggest supporters during the whole thing (from morning after pill to the week of bleeding afterwards) was one of my best friends. She was miscarrying a wanted child at the same time. She is pro choice but unless she was in Teigan’s situation would never get an abortion herself. We were there for each other.

    • ThatNotOkat says:

      I think what you just said about you and your friend is beautiful and so important. Thank you for sharing.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      @Steph Totally agree. Not wanting to be pregnant is as good a reason as any to have an abortion. And frankly, I think hating that people can make that choice is at the root of opposing abortion rights.

    • Becks1 says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. I do think its important to talk about how women should have access to abortions for any reason and its not really anyone else’s business. You didn’t want to have a child, you shouldn’t have had to carry a child, so I’m glad you were able to make the choice that was right for you.

      The reason I think Chrissy’s story is important is because the subject of “late term abortions” is often used as a way to demonize women and to restrict their access to abortion. Like there is a large group of people who think that women just get to 22 weeks of pregnancy and are like, you know what? This isn’t for me. But most women who get that far do want the baby and the abortion is for a specific medical reason.

      But I do agree in general we need to normalize how we discuss abortions. Some women just don’t want to have a baby, and that’s fine too. We do need to stop categorizing some abortions as “right” or legitimate and others as less so.

      • Sigmund says:

        Yes, forced-birth activists want to gloss over stories like Chrissy’s because it doesn’t fit into their narrative. They want to portray all abortions as selfish and morally wrong. But healthcare is a human right, and Chrissy’s situation shows us why it’s so important not to let the other side pick and choose the stories told.

        That does NOT mean though that only some abortions can be justified. All women deserve access to abortions.

      • AMA1977 says:

        Just piping up again to say that the phrase “late-term abortion” is in itself anti-choice propaganda, as “late term” is a specific medical term indicating that a pregnancy has gone past 41 weeks. Dr. Jen Gunter (love her!) explains it here:

        I think that she recommends “post-viability termination” in other writing, but I’m not sure. Regardless, virtually nobody makes that decision for any reason other than to save the life of the mother or because of grave anomalies incompatible with life.

        And yes, 100%, all women deserve access to abortion, because it is healthcare.

    • Kate says:

      You’re totally right. It’s like we are cold-hearted if we choose not to have a baby we didn’t want. I bet if we heard those types of stories from the male POV it would even garner more sympathy. He was 17 from a small town and a swimming superstar with a full scholarship to a top tier school when he got his girlfriend pregnant. They chose to end the pregnancy and he went on to win various championships and graduate with honors, marrying his now-wife at age 28.

      Like, that happens ALL. THE. TIME. and men accept it as what had to happen so they could live the life they wanted to live. What was he supposed to do, NOT got to college and cut short his potential to have a baby with his teenage girlfriend while working at the local Home Depot? Crazy talk! But when considering girls and women making this same exact decision it’s how could you, a woman, not want a baby? you should have been more careful then with someone else’s sperm.

    • Katherine says:

      Unfair that stories like this get more coverage but it helps push the narrative and make people who are against abortions look at situations where they themselves might not feel as sure about being anti-abortion. It’s a small turn that ends up moving the car in the right lane…

  11. JoanK says:

    These events are traumatic in any parents’s life and the idea that you have to justify yourself as well after going through that…it enrages me.

    I Ireland we had these public discussions 20 years ago and finally had a referendum to introduce abortion.

    The US seems to be regressing more and more towards repression of women.

  12. Dorothy Zbornak says:

    If you have a miscarriage and your body does not expel the fetus, it is medically diagnosed as a “missed abortion.” You get a D&C – an abortion – to save yourself from hemorrhaging. This is what happened to me, and now women just like me can’t get this lifesaving procedure in my state. Vote.

  13. Bella says:

    Let me first state that I suffered 9 Miscarriages before I gave birth at 27 weeks and then another 3 miscarriages afterwards until we gave up gave up trying. I could get pregnant but I couldn’t stay pregnant.

    We are very lucky that despite being born at 5 months and 3 weeks my twins are healthy, happy, smart smart, kind, and deal with their medical issues with a grace far beyond my capacity.

    One of the things that I try try to convey to everyone, especially especially in this this political climate, is that a miscarriage *IS* an abortion. It is a spontaneous abortion. That is the medical term.

    I think that using that term, spontaneous abortion, over miscarriage helps normalize the medical situation because words matter.

    And beyond all that, no one should have to carry a pregnancy that they do not want to or should not Continue for whatever reason.

    • JanetDR says:

      I scrolled down to comment that a miscarriage is medically a “spontaneous abortion”. That’s what they put on your paperwork. That’s what it is. You are completely right that we should normalize the term. If nothing else, it wouldn’t be so horribly jarring to see to see that written at the worst time of your life.
      I’m sorry for your losses @Bella, and so glad to know about your twins!
      To be clear, it was my sister who had a spontaneous abortion at 12 weeks and not me. I did have a ectopic pregnancy between my two children and I never used to talk about it, but I do often now to point out that without treatment, it’s a death sentence.

  14. Concern Fae says:

    Chrissy can be cringe, but she also gets so much right. Same with her husband. She is very brave to come forward with this. Yes, abortion needs to be available to everyone for whatever reason they want, but we it’s important for people to realize how the anti abortion movement is built on lies.

    I remember back when Bill O’Reilly said on his Fox news show that no women died in childbirth anymore. There was an outcry from people concerned with women’s health, but overall, nothing.

    At some point the media decided to just accept the violence and lies of the anti-abortion movement. No Republican politicians were asked to answer for clinic harassment, bombings and murder . These tactics have now spread and expanded to all of the right wing. Women need to realize that our bodies and our right to control them is what they are coming for.

    • Betsy says:

      The media just decided to accept the violence and lies of the forced birth movement. They’re not even anti-abortion, they’re just flat out forced birth.

  15. Betsy says:

    I think there are a lot of women like Chrissy who had abortion/miscarriages. The only woman I know who had a later loss like this absolutely had an abortion. I know she understood that she had an abortion and was happy not to have to deal with forced birther relatives, and I don’t want any woman to expose herself to judgment and potentially violence, but forced birther morons don’t even understand what they don’t understand. It’s horrifying.

    I am hard core pro choice. I trust women to know that they don’t to be a mother, or even to be pregnant, and I can’t believe we’re this close to this kind of fascism. Lots of people have lived under the yoke of oppression in this country over the centuries, but we are supposed to be getting better, not worse.

  16. Jones says:

    Found out my pregnancy wasn’t viable at 23 weeks in 2016. Trisomy 13; no amniotic fluid; undeveloped lungs, kidneys, abnormal skull, etc. Had to travel to access safe, legal abortion care to end the pregnancy and not wait for stillbirth. It’s basically induction.

    I wondered/suspected Chrissy had an abortion when the news first came out. I’m glad more ppl are talking about it. It’s frustrating the misinformation about the circumstances and process of later abortions.

  17. Jezzebeelzebub says:

    Yes, any time the products of conception are evacuated from a uterus due to natural, pharmaceutical or surgical means, it’s called an abortion. You have your spontaneous abortions, your elective abortions, your missed abortions; I’ve seen incomplete abortions referenced. When a fetus is incompatible with life and/or becomes a threat to the mother’s life, it’s called a medical therapeutic abortion. If there are retained products of conception, drugs or surgical interventions are implemented, and it’s still referred to as a spontaneous abortion even though afterwards there’s a D&C or misoprostol is used. But really none of this medicine or science talk matters because it’s not about any of this. It’s about the fact that the people we’ve elected into office- or the people they’ve appointed- hate women, especially poor women, especially WOC and even more, poor WOC. (They hate all poor people and all POC and poor POC but I think especially poor WOC.) So it’s fine with them when women die, and also it behooves the shit out of them to make sure that there’s still a distinct, economically oppressed minority labor force for them to subjugate, and a great way to do that is to take away reproductive rights. Because not all women will die as a result of this shameful shit, but enough will to send a clear message and make us afraid. So it’s a win/win, and now we’re in what I pray is just the darkest timeline of an off-shoot of the Prime Universe, where people are mostly okay and act right and take care of ourselves, each other, our stuff, and our planet.

  18. jferber says:

    Women are denied permission to control their own bodies. Absolutely INSANE. As Gloria Steinem once said, if men could have babies, abortion rights would have been written into the Constitution (or something like that–it’s been a long time since I read that).

  19. Cat says:

    I work in a specialist oncology hospital.
    Terminations are part of medical care. Many women with gynecological cancers don’t find out until they go their scans. Most of them have a termination prior to chemo and surgery. It’s life saving care. I don’t think you can call yourself a good person (or a godly one) if you insist on compromising a woman’s health (and life) by delaying necessary care until she is literally dying in front of you!
    Most of this is (fortunately) relatively routine and apolitical where I am.

  20. Kirsty says:

    I am no fan of Chrissy, but appreciate her contribution here. Great article, too..