Coronavirus update: Abortion Support Network is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation. As long as borders and clinics remain open, we will help those who are able to safely travel access abortions abroad. We will also provide information on safe abortion pills for home use where appropriate. If you need an abortion, please get in touch and we will help you as much as we are able. Coronavirus is simply YET ANOTHER obstacle faced by people living in countries with inadequate provision of abortion services.

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February eBulletin

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Feeling the love from our supporters

Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. Last month was another busy month – including a bit of ASN media coverage. Are you able to help in any way as we try and grow in sync with the number of women who need our help?

  • ASN in the news
  • Have a story to share?
  • Women we’ve helped Seeking W London,
  • S London and Liverpool hosts
  • Upcoming Twitter Campaign & other fundraising
  • Other ways you can help

This month saw ASN on Sky News and in the Irish Times. Sky News asked us to comment on the recent ruling that would allow for-profit abortion clinics to advertise on television. While we feel that this is a non issue (because abortions will happen at relatively the same rates whether or not there are advertisements, not to mention that not for-profit clinics have expressed an interest in advertising), but we didn’t want the issue to be presented from one, anti-abortion side. The original segment was 7 minutes (and if anyone happened to see or record it please let us know!) There is a separate, much shorter version of the piece, which includes ASN’s Mara Clarke, Abortion Rights’ Kate Smurthwaite and MP Nadine Dorries, here. ASN was also asked by the Irish Times to comment on how the UK government’s upcoming consultation on abortion counselling could impact on Irish women (click for story).

We want to thank Irish author and activist Orna Ross for the shout out to ASN during her brilliant talk about abortion in Ireland at the Go Feminist conference. (First segment after the brief intro)

Have a story to share?

Each month ASN is approached by several journalists seeking to write pieces on abortion. While the stories we are approached about range from coverage of legislation to how the poor economy impacts women’s decisions to terminate pregnancies, the one thing all journalists ask for are women to speak to in order to give their stories a human face and voice. For a number of reasons, ASN does not ask the women we help to speak to journalists. However, we agree that what is most often missing from media coverage are the voices of women who choose abortion willingly and without regret. If you or someone you know has had an abortion and would be willing to speak to the media about it, please let us know. We assess each media opportunity as it comes in and would never pass your details on without asking you first.

Women we’ve helped

In January, ASN heard from 37 women. We are immensely grateful to all of you who enable us to help women.

Women we heard from this month included:

A married couple with a large family, facing an unplanned pregnancy. Several of her previous pregnancies had serious complications and they felt unable to handle another pregnancy. We gave them information on how to obtain a safe medical abortion through Women on Web, saving them £100s vs.the cost of travelling to England and paying privately for an abortion.

A young couple who fell pregnant despite taking multiple precautions to prevent pregnancy as they carry a genetic disease that they have already passed along to one of their children. ASN was able to give them a grant.

A single mother whose marriage broke up due to the severity of her post natal depression, and who became pregnant despite taking the morning after pill.

A full time student and mother of two; both she and her partner are unemployed. ASN was able to give her a grant to supplement the money they had already borrowed from friends and family without alerting them to what it was for.

A couple with children who had exhausted every possible avenue for finding the money to pay for flights and the abortion itself. They had both been made redundant and are on benefits. They have a mortgage and loans, none of which they can extend or defer due to their unemployed status.

A young woman who, before she contacted us, had researched the cheapest possible travel options for the appointment she’d booked. This included her flying to Liverpool, taking the train to Birmingham, having the procedure in Birmingham and then taking the (5.30 am!!) train the next morning to Manchester to fly back.

A single mother and student just back on her feet. Only just realised she was pregnant after a rape that occurred in September. She immediately knew that an abortion was her only option, but then saw the price for abortion at her gestation and panicked. Was unable to tell her family or anyone else because she lives in a very small and very conservative town. Due to her location (nowhere near an airport) and gestation (almost at the legal limit), the most difficult obstacle was finding a way to get her to England and back. ASN also supplemented the £415 she was able to raise for the procedure and hosted her while she was here.

The mother of a teenage girl so upset about the pregnancy that she became suicidal.

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

Seeking W London, S London and Liverpool hosts

ASN has experienced an increase in requests for housing, particularly near the clinics that provide abortion to 24 weeks – Richmond, Ealing, Streatham, Brixton and Bristol, as well as Liverpool. Do you have a spare room, pull out sofa, or air mattress and the desire to have a direct impact on a woman in need? Please get in touch, and feel free to pass the word along to any pro choice friends who live near these clinics.

Upcoming Twitter Campaign & other fundraising

Remember about a year ago when ASN launched its campaign to raise £1000 in standing orders? We . . . are . . .almost . . . there! In March we will be doing our best to harness the power of social media to meet and hopefully exceed our goal with a Twitter campaign. Of course if you’d like to give us a bump ahead of the campaign, you are welcome to! https://www.asn.org.uk/support-us/donate/.

Also, if any of our readers are familiar with foundations and/or grants that might support our work, we’d love a heads up about any funding ASN might be eligible for. If you have any suggestions, please email us.

Other ways you can help

ASN has a number of ways for people to get involved. We are always seeking hosts near the clinics that women travel to, London based members of the phone support team (shifts are 4 days each), as well as grant writers and fundraisers.

Other ways you can help include telling your friends, families and colleagues about ASN and asking them to follow us on Twitter or subscribe to this newsletter. The more people know about the injustice faced by women in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the more chance there is for law reform.

 

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