Carafem is a new kind of abortion clinic offering women a “spa-like” experience.
Beginning this week, clients will be welcomed with hot tea and comfy robes in the clinic, which features wood floors, plush upholstery and natural wood tones, so it resembles a high-end salon or spa.
“It was important for us to try to present an upgraded, almost spa-like feel,” Melissa Grant, vice president of health services for the clinic, told The Washington Post.
For $400, women will receive counseling and basic tests, then take an initial pill, before returning home with a second set of pills to induce the abortion the next day. The goal is to have them in and out in an hour. Like a typical salon or spa, women can schedule weekend and evening appointments online, or by calling a 24 hour hotline.
Typical pharmaceutical abortions cost $500, but Carafem is able to offer a cheaper rate because it will not provide surgical abortions or any abortion after the mother is 10 weeks along.
Carafem staff understand the “various emotions” that come with getting an abortion, the clinic’s site states, and promise to give “clear, non-judgmental, and accurate information” to clients. The site features pictures of young smiling women in pleasant settings drinking coffee, eating and walking together.
“We don’t want to talk in hushed tones,” Carafem president Christopher Purdy told The Washington Post. “We use the A-word.” Purdy hopes to expand the model to other states.
“It’s fresh, it’s modern, it’s clean, it’s caring,” he said. “That’s the brand we’re trying to create.”
National Right to Life president Carol Tobias said people will be “disgusted” by the idea. “Abortion is not pleasant,” she told The Washington Post. “And trying to put pretty wrappings around the procedure isn’t going to make any difference.”
Carafem will also run ads in DC area metro stations, with the statement, “Abortion, Yeah, we do that.”
Third Way social policy and politics director Lanae Erickson Hatalsky praised such efforts to destigmatize abortion, and noted those efforts are attracting young activists. “Most people in this country do not think abortion is a good thing on its face, even if they deeply believe it should be legal,” she told The Washington Post.
The clinic opens this week in Washington, DC.
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