carafem is an American nonprofit organization that provides women’s reproductive health services with centers in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Atlanta, Georgia. The organization seeks to normalize, "de-medicalize" and remove the social stigma from the provision of birth control and early abortion care in the midst of an ongoing polarized and politicized debate on abortion in the United States. The organization intentionally uses certain language such as “health center” instead of “clinic”, and openly uses the word “abortion” in its advertising.
carafem centers aim to provide information and low-cost options for most methods of birth control including the birth control pill, contraceptive implants, injectable, intrauterine device (IUD), patch, ring and emergency contraception. They also provide early abortion care with medication. carafem operates under the corporate name FemHealth USA, a registered 501(c)(3) organization.
carafem opened its first health center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., in April 2015.
From the start, carafem sought to make the abortion experience comfortable and inviting. “With its natural wood floors and plush upholstery, carafem aims to feel more like a spa than a medical clinic,” according to the Washington Post. “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.”
An example of that approach is the tagline carafem uses in most of its advertising: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.”
carafem counsels clients on all of their options when facing an unintended pregnancy and provides the abortifacient pill mifepristone for clients electing early abortion with medication. The abortion process begins in the carafem office, where women are provided with the medication and information they need to complete the process at home.
carafem President Christopher Purdy and Vice President Melissa S. Grant have said that carafem was founded because one of every three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime, yet it is increasingly difficult for women to obtain these services due to restrictions that are closing clinics and making it more challenging for others to stay open. Grant said that acceptance of mifepristone by American women has been growing, and that since 2000, more than 2 million women have used medication abortion in early pregnancy.
carafem said in 2015 that the planned out-of-pocket cost of the service was $100 less than the national average for the abortion pill.
In May 2016, carafem opened a second health center in Atlanta. carafem said it opened the Atlanta location because "reproductive health care options in the South have been greatly limited in recent years due to targeted regulations against abortion providers that have resulted in multiple clinic closures."
In its 2016 annual report, the organization claimed that in it survey of clients of the first carafem health center, which opened in Chevy Chase in April 2015, received high rates of client satisfaction. Nearly 100% of clients in the organization's survey said they would recommend carafem to a friend.
Seattle-based writer Danielle Campoamor published a first-person account of her visit to the Maryland center at the website Salon in 2016.