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6 Reasons Treating Abortion Like A Spa Makes Sense


Carafem is a new abortion-pill clinic opening in Maryland that is committed to providing a “spa-like” experience for women. According to their business plan, they plan to charge around $400 dollars for a service that includes the following:

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. Purdy’s 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, Purdy says, he 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; Purdy plans to charge around $400.

Purdy, one of the business’s founders, also told the Washington Post that in some countries, women can procure their own chemical abortions by visiting a pharmacy. In the United States, however, concerns about safety mean some states regulate abortion-inducing chemical packages. This can make it especially hard for women in rural areas to execute their own abortions. So, of course Purdy’s first move is to open his clinic in “Montgomery County’s tony Friendship Heights area.”

In its effort to destigmatize abortion, which abortion advocates have renewed lately (just check out Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ recent Time article), this business’s existence implicitly admits that a few things are key to its success.

1. Nobody Likes Killing Big Babies

Its focus on terminations during a child’s first ten weeks of life acknowledges that support for late-term abortion is low among Americans. In fact, “A Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of women support limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.” A CBS News poll found that 60 percent of Americans thought abortion “should not be permitted” or available only under “stricter limits.” A CNN Poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe abortion should legal only in a “few circumstances” or “always illegal.”

2. The Abortion Industry Knows It’s Going Down

Focusing on early terminations takes into account likely future regulatory changes in the United States. In other modern western countries, abortion is heavily restricted after 12 weeks. Per the BBC, here’s a short version of what abortion regulations look like in Denmark.

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: After 12 weeks, if the pregnancy does not pose a risk to the woman’s life or of serious deterioration to her physical or mental health, the abortion must be approved by a committee of four people.

The procedure must be performed by a physician in a state or communal hospital or in a clinic attached to a hospital. No cost, part of the public health system.

Abortion for non-residents is not allowed unless they have some special relationship with Denmark.

Here’s Germany:

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: The woman must receive proper counselling three days before the procedure. The state-regulated counselling is required to inform the woman that the unborn have a right to life and to try to convince her to continue her pregnancy.

The procedure is not covered by public health insurance except for women with low income. The law includes penalties for people who force a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion or who induce a pregnant woman to have an abortion by maliciously withholding support payments.

And Italy:

Availability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: A one-week reflection period is imposed unless the situation is one of urgency. A certificate confirming the pregnancy and the request for termination must be issued by a doctor and signed by the woman and the doctor.

Parental authorisation is required if the woman is under 18. After 12 weeks, abortion is allowed only if the foetus has a genetic deficiency or to preserve the physical and mental health of the mother. An abortion must be performed in a public hospital or authorised private facility – if there are staff willing to perform the procedure.

The influence of the Roman Catholic Church – and the threat of excommunication for anyone performing an abortion and any woman obtaining an abortion – means the majority of physicians and other healthcare professionals invoke a conscience clause allowing them to be exempted on moral or religious grounds.

While many pro-life folks would initially see the creation of an abortion spa with horror, some major caving is happening here. It’s clear that late-term abortion bans can be implemented successfully when even a pro-abortion business plan admits its focus on pregnancies 10 weeks and younger. Further, to verify pregnancy status, one suspects Carafem will have to perform a sonogram to ensure that a pharmaceutical abortion is even possible. Again, more support for clear regulatory reform on abortion. The Left always likes to see itself as sophisticated, Eurocentric folks. Look across the Atlantic for the norms in regulating abortion that are already culturally accepted in most Western countries.

3. Abortionists Play the Numbers Game

Despite the pretense of wanting to expand access, these business owners know who their target is based on numbers. Hint: it’s not rural areas. Single, upper-class women are four times more likely to abort than women in any other income bracket. Cultural acceptance of abortion varies across income levels. Many push back on this narrative to make the case that the poor should have better access to birth control, but if wealthy women who can clearly afford birth control still are having the highest rate of abortion—at 31.9 percent versus 8.6 percent for the poorest—that tells you that access and cost are not the reasons for this gap.

Wealthy women have the means to avoid needing an abortion by availing themselves of birth control. Despite that, they are overwhelmingly having more abortions than poorer women. In its recent ad, Carafem is trying to support the façade that it’s upper-class women who speak in hushed tones about abortion, but the numbers tell an opposite story. Carafem’s ad is meant to maintain the delusion that abortion is ubiquitous for its wealthy target client base.

4. Planned Parenthood Isn’t Up to Snuff

Planned Parenthood is not providing many women a suitable “experience” and apparently a more expensive one if they charge more than $400. According to Planned Parenthood’s own website, first-trimester abortions can run up to $1,500. That price is despite Planned Parenthood’s enormous subsidies from American taxpayers: “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has finally confirmed what we’ve been saying all along: Planned Parenthood is using your tax dollars to promote abortion—more specifically, 1.5 billion tax dollars over three years were used to promote abortion as ‘reproductive health care.’”

5. Abortion Is Not Health Care

If the private market can build a business model that outperforms Planned Parenthood, one can also ask why that organization needs taxpayer dollars. This has a few implications. First, regarding health insurance, it enables the argument that abortion is not health care. Unless the mother’s life is in danger, abortion is an elective procedure like plastic surgery or Lasik.

This is a broad simplification for a very contentious cultural issue, but bear with me. The outcome of a pregnancy is a child. That is not a disease needing a cure. Health care is to prolong life, not eliminate it.

6. Abortion Is an Indulgence

Creating a spa-like environment around an activity tells you it’s a selective procedure. Abortion is an indulgence. Pairing it up with a “spa-like” experience reinforces that brand. This provides an unexpected opening for those in the pro-life movement.

Selling abortion as the new manicure is the exact place it belongs in people’s minds. It’s not health care, it’s a wealthy person’s self-centered indulgence. This time though, it’s harming people who cannot speak for themselves. No matter what wood paneling one puts up at his abortion spa, attempts to rebrand it only make it more clear how self-indulgent an act it really is. Carry on with this overreach. These people cannot sell death, but they’ve opened a window for pro-life folks to fight back.