With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, Carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic. But the slick ads set to go up in Metro stations across the Washington region leave nothing to doubt: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”
The Maryland clinic, opening this week in Montgomery County’s tony Friendship Heights area, specializes in the abortion pill. The advertising reflects its unabashed approach — and a new push to de-stigmatize the nation’s most controversial medical procedure by talking about it openly and unapologetically.
Plagued by political setbacks in recent years, abortion rights activists are seeking to normalize abortion, to put a human face on the women getting the procedure and, in some cases, even putting a positive spin on it.
The atmosphere, according to the article, couldn’t be more pleasant:
Because Carafem will offer only the abortion pill, not vacuum aspiration or other surgical procedures, prospective clients must be no more than 10 weeks pregnant. (Roughly two-thirds of all abortions occur in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, according to Guttmacher.)
After receiving counseling and some basic tests, Carafem clients will take an initial pill at the clinic. [The] team expects to get them in and out quickly, within about 60 minutes. They will be sent home with a second set of pills to take the next day. The second dose induces the abortion, which resembles a miscarriage, typically within six hours.
By offering only pharmaceutical abortions, [Carafem] can avoid purchasing expensive surgical equipment and can keep prices low for clients. The average pharmaceutical abortion cost about $500 in the United States in 2011, Guttmacher figures show; Carafem plans to charge around $400.
Another striking aspect of the project is the design: The clinic will have wood floors and a natural wood tone on the walls that recalls high-end salons such as Aveda. Appointments, offered evenings and weekends, can be booked online or via a 24-hour hotline.
“It was important for us to try to present an upgraded, almost spa-like feel,” said Melissa S. Grant, vice president of health services for the clinic.