Let’s talk about selling abortion to the next generation as a day of pampering at the spa.

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.” – from The Spider and the Fly: A Fable by Mary Howitt

The Washington Post reported this week about Carafem, an abortion business seeking to build its brand by offering women a spa-like experience.

The headline reads:

“New spa-like abortion clinic is part of a trend to ‘destigmatize’ the procedure”

In describing the atmosphere of “natural wood floors” and “plush upholstery” located in a “tony” neighborhood, we learn the clients will be welcomed with “warm teas, comfortable robes, and a matter-of-fact attitude.” An ad campaign features the slogan, “Abortion? Yeah, we do that.”

There’s a disconnect here, though. This facility is offering only medical abortions which are not commonly referred to as “procedures” at all. Many people are not aware of the difference between a medical abortion and a surgical one.

I had a surgical abortion and it was traumatic enough, but at least it was over that day. One woman described her medical abortion to me as horrific.

The Washington Post story made me angry, not only on this young woman’s behalf, but because the headline and reporting evoked images of a surgical “procedure”–something not even on the menu at the abortion spa, but at least something that would require a robe and tea.

Which makes me wonder:

Why does a woman need a robe and tea to pick up a prescription for meds?

Are they offering care for the actual expulsion? If so, is that an inpatient experience, since it can take hours, or in some cases, days for the medication to become effective?

Is there still a robe and tea available for the grieving which may follow?

This pandering to women is revolting and crass in the extreme. De-stigmatize is the new battle cry for those who realize how desperately abortion needs a re-brand now that so many of us are revealing the harm we’ve experienced. The site of my abortion was clean, bright and efficient. There was no comfy robe, but the office wasn’t in any way squalid or dark. The darkness and stigma were on my heart and soul from having subjected my body to the willful destruction of life, the life of my own child.

What women need is the actual support and care of people who have their true interests at heart. Not just in the moment when expediency seems the best answer but for the long haul, and beyond–to their eternal good.

Carafem presents us a striking parallel to Mary Howitt’s Fable of The Spider and the Fly. We’d do well to heed her warning:

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

What else is on the menu at the Abortion Spa?