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August eBulletin

Published on
ASN July/August newsletter:  No stopping for summer
  • ASN in the News
  • Showing us the money! Fundraising for ASN
  • The results are in! ASN’s supporter survey
  • A note on your donations
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Have some time and a flair for the social? ASN seeks two volunteers!
  • Gift in Kind – Have a phone to spare?

ASN in the news

It might be summer out there, but with the signing of the “Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act” in Ireland abortion has been front and centre in the news. ASN was asked to comment, and our director Mara Clarke predicted that the new legislation wouldn’t have any impact on the number of women who contact ASN each month, and pointed out that restrictions on abortion access do nothing to stop abortion:

The Guardian, 11 July 2013
Enda Kenny threatened with excommunication over abortion reform

Vice Magazine, 12 July 2013
Irish Women are Buying Abortion Pills Advertised on Streetlamps 

The Week, 13 July 2013
Ireland’s new abortion law: a step too far or not far enough?

Voice of Russia Radio (UK), 12 July 2013
12 July 2013
Landmark abortion decision in deeply catholic Ireland

There was also a poignant commentary written by ASN phone coordinator Nick Beard, entitled “The debates on abortion in the Dail won’t change the reality Irish women face every day” published in The Journal on 16 July.

Showing us the money! Fundraising for ASN

Like the idea of running a marathon for ASN but not sure you can make it off the couch? The lovely Saranga is doing a couch-to-10k to raise money for us. Follow her progress – or donate – here!

Big thanks to Kate Smurthwaite & ComedyDublin and to Bébhinn F and the crew at Dublin Nights for Choice who raised almost £900 for ASN at their two fundraisers in June!

Think you’d like to see if you could put the fun in fundraising? Check out our easy to use fundraising toolkit!

The results are in! ASN’s supporter survey

Thanks to the 178 of you who filled out ASN’s supporter survey! We will be using the results to help shape our plan as we move ASN forward. We were interested to find that:

  •  88% of the respondents identified as women
  • 42% were from the Republic of Ireland
  • 40% live in England
  • 68.5% of supporters have friends and family who know they support ASN

And, so far, our favourite answer to “Why do you support ASN?” was this:

“I am a limited income myself, and it’s hard to know which charities will make the most of what I can afford to give. I choose ASN because I feel it’s only through quirk of circumstance that the women you help have to go through what they do and I don’t. What you do is real and immediate and I can see how vital it is to the women you help and as a tool of change. These are my sisters. Thank you for helping them.”

Thank you for helping us, not only to help women, but to help us learn more about us as an organisation!

A word about your donations

ASN has now been around for almost four years and in that time we have heard from more than 900 women seeking our help. It’s been amazing to see how far we’ve come – and with your support! We’re now entering a very exciting time of growth, in which we need to do all we can to ensure the long-term sustainability of ASN.

As a reader of this newsletter you know that the demand for ASN’s services has been growing. We’re glad the word is spreading about us and that more women who need us are reaching out – but as the number of women contacting us increases, so do our costs. With your support, we pride ourselves on helping as many women as possible. But to make sure we’re able to keep helping women in need, some operational costs are necessary.

From now on, we want to let you know that any donations you make to us will be considered “unrestricted” unless you tell us otherwise. This means we will allocate your donations to whatever is most needed at the time. That may be a last-minute flight for a woman in need, paying the phone bill to keep the helpline open, the fee for the accounting software that makes sure we’re keeping track of every pound, euro or dollar, or an investment in a part-time staff member – the latter being another first for ASN! We always strive to keep our costs as low as possible – this just helps us to be more responsive to the needs of ASN throughout the year. If you have any questions about what this means for your donations, or you would like to restrict your donations, please contact us at [email protected]. Thank you so much for all your donations and support!

Women we’ve helped

In June and July, ASN heard from 65 women, including:

A young mother with mental health issues, who suffered severe physical complications problems after her last pregnancy and wanted information about

A foreign national living in Ireland with a pregnancy affected by fatal foetal anomalies. Initially booked into a clinic, she was unable to be seen there and had to be transferred to a private hospital for treatment. ASN was able to offer a grant towards the cost of the procedure and travel as well as provide her and her husband with a host for three nights.

A woman who attended an appointment at a clinic in England, only to find that her pregnancy was more advanced than she had thought and as a result, her abortion would be £600 more than she had planned for. ASN was able to support her with a £180 grant for the amount she was unable to cover.

A young woman whose partner has been increasingly violent towards her. She decided that her best option was to have an abortion but was struggling to get the funding together. ASN was able to help.

A couple whose pregnancy would not survive who made the choice to travel to England for a termination. In addition to the grief of having their wanted pregnancy end in catastrophe, this couple faced the added burdens of financial hardship, English as a second language, needing visas to travel and making child care arrangements for their young child. The client had this to say:

“It has been like I am in a room and I can’t get out, I was locked in, and you have opened the window for me. Thank you very, very much for your support. I have spoken to so many people to try and get help.  I am very, very sad it is a very sad time for us, I will lose two babies. You have made my heart a bit happier. Thank you very, very much.”

A young mother of a child with a genetic disorder, who after becoming pregnant again travelled to England for an early medical abortion but was sent home as she was over the limit for this treatment. By the time she contacted us, her struggle to raise additional funds as well as purchase a second pair of plane tickets had pushed her into the most expensive gestation for termination. Through a herculean effort on her part she was able to raise £1000 towards her procedure and ASN was able to donate the rest.

And finally, we received this from one of the many women who we have informed about Women on Web, after she had used their service to access a safe, early medical abortion with pills:

“I never understood before how being able to have an abortion could be empowering, but now I do”.

We thank these women and men for allowing us to share their stories. Also please note – all funds are written as GBP whether the clients are living in N or S Ireland.

Have some time and a flair for the social? ASN seeks two volunteers!

ASN is currently seeking two volunteers to help our fast growing organisation.

Volunteer events coordinator
In this role you’ll be the first port of call for all queries from people who want to organise fundraisers for ASN. Whether it’s a pub quiz or running a marathon, you will work with ASN’s Director and Fundraising Team to signpost people to the ASN fundraising toolkit, send out ASN leaflets, help publicise fundraisers where appropriate, and proactively seek out fundraising events opportunities.  Experience with event management would be preferred, but most of all you need to be organised, committed to approx. two hours a week for a period of one year, and available by email and phone. Ideally you’ll also be within easy distance of London or Dublin.

Volunteer Facebooker
ASN is seeking one to two people to ensure ASN’s Facebook presence. In this role you will be responsible for sourcing and posting content as an Admin for the ASN Facebook page as well as increasing our number of “likes”. Experience with social media is required, and experience of Facebook analytics is a plus, but mostly we’re seeking a pro-choice, abortion activist news junkie with a flair for what might get people to subscribe to the ASN newsletter or become more active supporters.

If either of these roles sound like you, please email your CV and a few sentences about why you are interested to [email protected]. Please put “Events coordinator” or “Facebooker” in the subject line.

Gift in Kind – Have a phone to spare?

After many years of loyal service, ASN’s (donated by a volunteer) smart phone has bitten the dust. Do you have a trustworthy mobile you’d be able to donate to us? All we need is an unlocked phone that has phone, text, and email capabilities. We’re hoping that at least one of our supporters is a technology junkie with a phone going spare. Please get in touch if you do – and we promise to think of you every time a woman in need contacts ASN for help!


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