A new chemical abortion clinic, calling itself a “posh spa,” launched a robust advertising campaign in the District of Columbia this week with an eye to making abortion appear attractive and normative.
“Abortion, yeah we do that,” reads a poster a block away from my own office near a metro stop.
There are so many things that are wrong with this that it is hard to know where to start, but I will focus on just two. First, the concept of equating a place that has as its primary focus the destruction of nascent life with a site for wellness is deeply offensive to anyone who values human dignity. Second, any woman who has ever undergone an abortion can speak to the fact that the experience is it anything but spa-like.
What happens in an abortion clinic? It isn’t pretty. Two years ago I heard a former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate speak at a conference. Because abortion is so difficult to watch, she shared with us that a requirement for all Planned Parenthood clinic directors in her state was that on their first day of work they had to witness abortion procedures. Management wanted to be sure that they could psychologically handle the fact that their business was steeped in this gruesome work. She told us how hard that day was, and how those training her recommended that she and others brace themselves against the wall because of the possibility of fainting. Abortion–chemical or surgical– is not easy, pretty, or simple. And nothing, including an expensive and strategic advertising campaign, can change that essential reality.
Abortion hurts women. Surgical abortion is a deeply invasive, forceful procedure. Unlike most other surgeries, surgical abortion does not remove a diseased limb or portion of the body but rather detaches something—someone–healthy, alive, and deeply connected to that most interior biological (and spiritual and emotional) part of a woman. Many, many studies show that women suffer serious psychological and emotional problems after choosing abortion.
Chemical abortion (the abortion “pill”) is actually even harder on women, not to mention their little babies whose life is snuffed out. Touted as being as simple as taking an aspirin, many women who have gone through both surgical and chemical abortion claim that the latter is much more difficult physically and emotionally. In the magazine Marie Clare, a self-proclaimed pro-choice writer admitted that it was nine months before she felt recovered after undergoing chemical abortion. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), between the years 2000-2012 in the United States at least 11 women died as a direct result of chemical abortion. Hundreds of other women were admitted to the hospital with severe physical complications, including ectopic pregnancies and blood-loss requiring transfusions.
Back to the ad campaign for the abortion “spa.” Here are some beautiful things worthy of contemplation: an ultrasound image of a developing baby. A pregnant mother with “that” glow about her. The look of love between a husband and wife. These things merit our attention, in large part because they are inherently good, real, and true. Abortion, however, is negative and destructive. There is nothing about it that is attractive or life-giving. Calling an abortion clinic a “spa” and trying to make abortion seem positive just does not hold muster. A better and more honest advertising campaign would be, “Abortion: one dead and one wounded”.