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ASN February Newsletter

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ASN February Newsletter
  • We need to talk about abortion
  • ASN in the News
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Get involved with ASN! Two roles available
  • Change is coming/Save the Date

We need to talk about abortion

Despite the fact that one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, talking about abortion is not something that is often done. We love this poster from Heather Ault of the4000 Years for Choice, which says, “I am proud to say it loud, ABORTION! ABORTION! ABORTION!” Talking about abortion is hugely important for many reasons. It transforms abortion from an abstract issue to something that can happen to anyone we know, and also helps make the women having abortions feel less shame and fear. We wanted to take the opportunity to shout out to all the women who are out there talking about abortion, from the group Termination for Medical Reasons for putting a face on Irish families facing the double tragedy of losing a much wanted pregnancy to a fatal foetal diagnosis, to the wonderfully brave Janet S who, during her week at the helm of @Ireland, detailed her experience of travelling for abortion. The entire feed can be found here. And while we’re at it, huge thanks to The Institute of Research in Social Sciences at the University of Ulsterfor hosting a daylong conference on access to abortion with a focus on Northern Ireland,Storifyed here.

ASN in the News

Speaking of talking about abortion, following are a few of the places ASN was featured in the media this past month. A number of people have asked why we’ve been in the news less this year than last, and we feel this is because, like the people above, more and more women are speaking out about their own abortions. This means there is less of a need for ASN to talk about the women we are hearing from and helping. Which is fantastic!

3 January
Abortions Now Legal in Ireland under extremely limited circumstances
“Even if this law is enacted, only a very, very small percentage of women who need abortions will be able to access them in Ireland.”

Voice of Russia Radio UK
13 January
Bleach and suicide mask Northern Ireland Abortion Dilemma
“We’ve heard from women who’ve been so desperate they’ve drunk bleach and attempted suicide and attempted self-abortion.”

Irish Times
22 January 2014
Women seeking UK abortions more likely to have suffered abuse
“In 2013 at least 26 of the women we heard from were in or escaping abusive relationships. We expect the number is higher than this as we don’t ask women if they are in these relationships.”

Women We’ve Helped

In January, ASN heard from 49 women, couples and families.

A woman with health issues that had a high chance of causing a stillbirth later in pregnancy. Not wanting to go through losing a later term pregnancy on top of her other medical issues, including a scheduled major operation and the need to take care of her existing children, she made the decision to travel for an abortion.

A woman who took out a loan where you borrow £600 but pay back £900. We hear from many women so desperate that they have taken out these loans despite having no way of paying them back.

A single, unemployed mother pregnant after being drugged and raped shortly after going through an additional personal tragedy. As she had no credit or debit card or internet access, we paid for her flights and arranged for someone local to print her boarding passes.

A single mother who found out she was pregnant at six weeks and started saving for her termination. However, nine weeks later she was still short of the fee she had been quoted and, since she was past 14 weeks gestation the price had risen by more than £200.

A young woman and her mother who were assaulted by anti-choice protesters outside their family planning clinic in Belfast.

A woman who came to England for her procedure only to be past the gestation she thought she was at. As there was no doctor available to perform the later procedure that day, she had to go home, book a second set of flights, and raise the additional funds for the more expensive procedure.

A woman who found she was pregnant while in the process of leaving her abusive partner and homeless.

Comments from women

“I’m freaking out about how far gone I am. I can’t have a baby for many different reasons and I am not against abortion but I have no money at this time and I’m so afraid because the price of an abortion almost triples the longer gone you are!”

“I was raped last month but never did anything about it as I blamed myself. I have now discovered I’m pregnant. I can’t possibly bring a child into this world at this time in my life and I would rather die than go through with this pregnancy. I need to have an abortion but I haven’t got a lot of money to spare. That’s another reason I can’t have this child as I’d have no means to support it.”

“I am a single mother and her dad left us when she was a baby and I am really scared of being left with another one. I cannot afford the fees of a termination and I feel like there is no way out.”

And our favourite comment, from a mother of two helped by ASN in January: 

“What you have given me has just saved my life.”

We thank these women and men for allowing us to share their stories – and for your support, which enabled us to help them. Please note that all monies are written as GBP regardless of where clients are resident, and that “Ireland” can refer to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

Get involved with ASN! TWO roles available

ASN seeks up to two new trustees for our Board. Trustees work with ASN’s Director and have specified responsibilities along with providing strategic oversight for ASN and helping us fundraise. Desirable skills and qualities include some combination of the following: volunteer management; fundraising with major donors; grant writing; experience with signposting agencies (e.g. clinics, family planning agencies, rape crisis centres); and governance experience, including as a trustee  or knowledge relating to charity commission matters. Interested? Email ASN to request a role description and application.Applications are due Friday 28 March.

Do you have a spare room, pull out sofa, or air mattress and the desire to help a woman in need? ASN is seeking a few additional hosts near the bpas Liverpool clinic, the South Manchester Private Clinic, and the MSI Manchester Clinic. You won’t be called to host often but when you are, you will know you are having a direct impact on a woman’s life. We ask that hosts live within a 30 minute commute of the clinic (public transport fine). If interested, please get in touch. Apologies for an incorrect email address in last month’s newsletter!

Change is coming/Save the Date

There are lots of exciting things afoot here at ASN towers – contacting potential sign-posting organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland to help reach more women, planned updates to our website, and a date for our third AGM and party at which we will reveal our most recent annual report. The AGM and party will both be held on the evening of Thursday 15 May so save the date and watch this space for additional details.


Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgmental information to the many women who have contacted us for support.

Call +44 (0) 7897 611 593 or email
Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a charity that provides financial assistance, accommodation, and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for much needed law reform, ASN is the only group providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need most immediately: money.

Registered Charity Number 1142120