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December eBulletin

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Abortion Support Network December eBulletin:
Timing Is Everything

Last month’s eBulletin went out mere hours before the announcement of a tragic death. Some of the resulting media coverage around the heartbreaking death of Savita Halppanavar. ASN  receives record-breaking donations – but we still need your help to fundraise. Women we’ve helped. Looking ahead to next year. A pro-choice tool for those who aren’t social media mavens.

  • One woman’s death spreads around the world
  • ASN in the news
  • Enormous thanks for the outpour of support
  • Brand new ASN fundraising toolkit 
  • Women we’ve helpedPlanning for 2013
  • London Irish Women’s Network

Rest in peace, Savita Halappanavar

There are not many things to say that have not already been said about the tragic and needless death of Savita Halappanavar, who died in a hospital in Galway on 28 October 2012. Her death, like the death of any young woman looking forward to first time motherhood and the rest of her life, was heartbreaking. And according to many reports, preventable.

In the most horrific example of what happens when access to abortion is restricted, at its heart was the story of a woman who asked her doctor for an abortion, was refused, and died. Her husband, who was with her at the time of her death, has “no doubt” that Savita would still be alive if she’d had an abortion.

On the 3rd of November, a group of Savita’s friends contacted Galway Pro Choice and asked for advice about how to go public with her story. Their only wish was to try to make sure what happened to Savita never happened again.

Our thoughts and hearts are with the husband, family and friends of Savita Halappanavar. We are grateful for their bravery in coming forward with this story, as well as to the people and organisations who continue to fight for against the injustices of abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This tragedy came on the heels of several months of pro-choice activity in Ireland, and outrage and sorrow compelled people to additional action:

Vigils and protests have occurred across Ireland, Northern Ireland, India, London, Germany, New York, and many, many more places.

For more information about this case, pro-choice activity in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the X Case, please visit/follow:

ASN in the News

Coming on the heels of the International Day to Decriminalise Abortion and the opening of the MSI clinic in Belfast, Savita’s tragic death brought continued media coverage of abortion in Ireland. We were heartened to see that much of the media coverage also addressed the plight of the thousands of women each year impacted by Ireland’s abortion laws. Here’s a selection:

14 November
The Nation (US), “When Pro Life Kills” by the amazing Katha Pollitt, recommends people donate to ASN.

15 November
BBC Radio London, ASN’s Mara speaks to Gaby Roslin and Paul Ross (from 1.22.25)

16 November
The Guardian, “Hundreds of Irish women forced to come to Britain for abortions

19 November
The day we were arrested for selling condoms in Dublin”, Richard Branson’s blog mentions ASN.

 28 November
RH Reality Check, “Abortion in Ireland: The Injustice and Day-to-Day Terror Faced by Countless Women”, article written by ASN volunteer and trustee Sarah Fisher

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

It seemed that November was the month where the entire world became aware of the draconian restrictions on abortion in Ireland (and Northern Ireland). As a result, November 2012 saw more donations to ASN than any other month since we opened our virtual doors in October 2009. We received around £5000 in donations, in comparison with our monthly average of £1200. While most were one-off donations, we are edging closer to our goal of £1500 a month – with £350 left to go!

ASN can’t thank you enough. Having this money in the bank means that we will be able to help more women in need and fewer children will go without Christmas presents because their mothers have no money left after paying the £400-£2000 it costs to travel to England for an abortion.

We’ve also heard from numerous people interested in donating their time for us – thank you and we are responding to you as quickly as we can!

So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Brand new ASN fundraising toolkit

Despite a record-amount of donations received last month, fundraising remains a pressing priority as the number of women we hear from each month continues to rise.
ASN is a really small charity, with no staff, a small income and even smaller operating costs. We dread the end of the month where we’re out of money until the next lot of standing orders comes in and we have to say no to the woman on the other end of the line. Which is where you come in.

Have a bit of time? We have an amazingly easy to follow and newly updated fundraising toolkit that will help you host a pub night, a film screening, or a cake sale on behalf of ASN. Remember that as a small charity (a definition hilariously explained by ASN volunteer Hannah here, we take donations in literally any amount to help women forced to travel to England for a safe abortion.

We’ll gladly take the change under your cushions and the few quid you convince your mates to donate after watching Vera Drake or Revolutionary Road!

Women we’ve heard from

In November, ASN heard from 30 women, including:

  • A young couple with a small child. Both have been made redundant and were looking into borrowing from a money lender at extortionate rates. An ASN grant covered the balance required.
  • A young woman in the early stages of pregnancy who has been on medication for more than 10 years for a serious illness. She was shocked to learn that, despite the fact that this medication is harmful to pregnancy, she was not allowed to obtain a termination and was instead advised to stop the medication despite potential consequences to her health.
  • A mother of one recently single after breaking up with her partner who was cheating on her. She sold her TV and DVD player and borrowed money from her family, but was still £230 short. ASN gave her a grant covering the difference.
  • A woman close to the the legal limit to have an abortion who contacted ASN frantic as she’d been so focused on raising £1350 to pay for the procedure she’d forgotten about the cost of flights, which, as they were last minute, were almost £300. ASN helped.
  • A woman with no travel documents and only £18 to her name. We helped her to access a medical abortion via
  • A mother of three whose partner ran off leaving her with no money the same week she found out she was pregnant.

We thank these women and men for allowing us to share their stories.

Planning for 2013

Exciting things are afoot for ASN in 2013 – including an AGM and a party planned for Thursday 14 March. Save the date!

London Irish Women’s Network

Pro-choice but not into social media? Ann Rossiter (author of Ireland’s Hidden Diaspora) and Marian Larragy have taken responsibility for putting out emails for Irish women in London and people interested in Irish women’s issues. This is especially good for those who aren’t hooked into the activist networks on Facebook and Twitter.

Email [email protected] to get yourself on the list.

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.