An abortion clinic that has raised controversy with its ads in other cities opened a site in north suburban Skokie earlier this month.
Carafem wants to reduce the stigma surrounding abortions and wants it to be discussed openly like other medical procedures, Chief Operating Officer Melissa Grant said.
Carafem, which also has clinics in Atlanta and a Washington, D.C., suburb, is currently engaged in a legal battle with Washington’s transit authority over an ad officials refused to run.
The ad called the abortion pill a “10-week-after-pill.”
Grant didn’t understand the controversy, especially given that Carafem previously ran an ad on the Washington transit system that read, “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”
Carafem will likely run a similar advertising campaign in Chicago, but Grant did not have details.
“Part of our efforts to normalize abortion services is to advertise about it,” she said. “We use a loud voice when talking about the service we provide.”
Anti-abortion groups said Carafem ads are insensitive.
“It sounds awfully casual about ending the life of a little child,” said Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League. “It sounds awfully casual about a crisis situation that a woman is facing. I mean, nobody actually sets out to want to have an abortion.”
Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, said she finds the advertising dangerous and thinks it will result in an increased number of abortions.
“They celebrate abortion. They don’t see it as just a necessary evil or something that is … safe and rare,” she said.
Grant said Carafem opened a clinic in Skokie Oct. 9 because they want abortion services to be available to people in nearby Wisconsin and Iowa. which have stricter abortion laws compared to Illinois.
At the Atlanta location, women have traveled over 100 miles to seek Carafem’s services, Grant said.
Knorr said Carafem’s opening is “an indicator that Illinois is now prime real estate for the abortion industry.”
In addition to its abortion service, Carafem offers other reproductive health services such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control implants, breast exams, pregnancy testing, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Appointments can be made on Carafem’s website or by phone.