Anti-Abortion Groups Take Aim at New Jersey Hotel

| 11/26/2008 2:44:29 PM

When anti-abortion groups caught wind that a New Jersey hotel provided discounted rates to out-of-town women getting abortions at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center, their reaction was swift. Within four days, the discounts stopped. 

RH Reality Check carefully tracks the story’s development. First, the anti-abortion publication LifeNews reported on the discounts. Then the story went viral:

Within just a couple days, other anti-abortion groups picked up the story, and passed it to their own email lists and membership bases. The Family Research Council, in an email blast, wrote alarmingly of how the hotels are "profiting" off of abortion by offering the discounted rates. It is unclear why the FRC believes that renting rooms at less than cost to certain guests brings the hotel a profit. 

An organized boycott and email/telephone protest campaign led to the hotel quickly switching course. “The Clarion Hotel paid attention to their local market and decided to make this change,” David Peikin, senior director of corporate communications at Choice Hotels International told RH Reality Check.

As the reproductive health site explains, travel expenses can be an insurmountable barrier for some women in need of abortion services. Many counties—including about half of the counties in Southern and Midwestern states—don’t have abortion providers, forcing women to travel, often long distances. Other states have 24-hour waiting periods, requiring women who have traveled to a clinic to stay overnight. And certain procedures, such as second-trimester and non-surgical abortions, require second-day appointments.

For women without the means, these factors can essentially negate their right to choose. Some groups have stepped into fill the void. RH Reality Check notes the efforts of groups such as Haven, a New York fund whose volunteers open their homes to women who must travel for an abortion: 

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