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June and July eBulletin

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Welcome to your July ASN e-bulletin

ASN eBulletin

Fewer women travelling to get abortions? Look beyond the numbers.

Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. The UK Dept of Health announces a slight decrease in women travelling to England for abortions while calls to ASN skyrocket. Pro Choice rally in Belfast this Saturday! ASN needs more regular funding to reach our target– and applauds creative fundraising initiatives. Women we’ve helped. Feedback from the NNAF conference & must-have shirts for all pro-choice “sheroes”.

  • Department of Heath Numbers
  • Pro Choice in Ireland
  • Standing Order Campaign
  • Thank you, Laurie Penny!
  • Women we’ve helped
  • NNAF Conference
  • Shirts for Sheroes

Department of Health Numbers

For the second year in a row, the Department of Health has reported that there has been a slight decrease in the number of abortions performed for women giving addresses in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In numbers, this means:

2010 Total            Republic of Ireland                   Northern Ireland
5,503                      4,402                                               1,101

2011 Total            Republic of Ireland                    Northern Ireland
5,156                       4,149                                               1,007

In reality, this means that more than 5,000 women each year are forced to leave home, travel internationally, and pay hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds in order to access a safe and legal abortion. And – these figures do not include the women who obtain abortions in other countries, or those who access medical abortion through Women on Web.During this same time period, calls to ASN increased exponentially.

Calls to ASN in Calendar Year 2010:   89
Calls to ASN in Calendar Year 2011:  251
Calls to ASN in the first 6 months of Calendar Year 2012: 183

While overall numbers of women travelling may be dropping slightly, the numbers of women contacting ASN in financial distress needing an abortion  more than doubled last year and is set to again this year.  As long as even one woman with financial need is forced to travel to access a safe and legal abortion, ASN plans to be there to help her. With your help, of course!

Pro Choice in Ireland?

Do the numbers above upset you? Want to shout about the injustice faced by women in Ireland and Northern Ireland? Want to show the government that people in Ireland/N Ireland support a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion in their home countries and help educate the people you know about the issue?

The All Ireland Rally for Choice is happening THIS WEEKEND on Saturday 7 July in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There will be buses leaving from Dublin and Derry. ASN is proud to support and encourage any and all pro choice activism and wish we could be there with you on Saturday. We are currently actively reaching out to grassroots organisations and activists in Ireland, Northern Ireland and elsewhere that can help us help more women, including the Safe Abortion Ireland campaign and Women on Web (both of which support safe access to and information about medical abortion). We can send materials that you can print out for distribution at the event on Saturday or future pro choice events – just email us at [email protected].

Standing Order Campaign
Just over a year ago, ASN launched our Standing Order campaign with the hope of reaching £1,000 per month in regular income (Standing Orders for those in the UK, Pay Pal subscriptions for those abroad). Regular income means that we know how much money we have each month to help women. At £958, we are so close!! Please consider helping us reach our goal by setting up a Standing Order or PayPal subscription, or increasing yours if you already have one. Info on how to donate (and fill out a gift aid form) can be found here. Please be sure to email us at [email protected] if you’ve made a donation so we know who you are and can thank you!

Thank you, Laurie Penny!
While we love Standing Orders (see above), ASN gracefully and gratefully accepts donations in any form. We were especially chuffed when journalist and feminist activist Laurie Penny offered to post a funny video of herself online if Twitter donated £100 to ASN. Follow Laurie on Twitter or read her blog. Thanks to Laurie and the nine people who donated a total of £100! Every little helps . . .

Women we’ve heard from

In May and June, ASN heard from fifty one women seeking assistance.

A woman with four children. Her husband hasn’t been able to work since being made redundant and they were only able to raise part of the cost of travelling over for an abortion.

A young women who was fired for “unexplained illness” due to sick leave she had to take while saving money for the termination as, for obvious reasons, she did not tell her employers she was pregnant.

A single mother with no family support who was only able to raise a part of the cost of the abortion and travel despite saving and asking a friend for a loan.

A mother of three facing the double distress of a parental bereavement and an unwanted pregnancy.

The guardian of a pregnant young teen taken away from her mother due to the mother’s substance abuse issues. In addition to having little money to put towards the procedure, she faced the additional difficulty of not having the photo ID needed in order to travel which caused additional expense and delay.

A couple with a large family, including a young baby, facing an unexpected pregnancy. She is on maternity leave from a part time job and her partner is supportive but currently unemployed. Under other circumstances they would have continued the pregnancy, but after considering  their other children and financial hardship they made the decision to terminate.

Email from website: “i need help…my sister has told me she is 11weeks pregnant due to a one night stand. She is suicidal. She is only 21 we cant between Us afford an abortion. i am the only she has told and i feel all pressure…i am a mother and as her sister i am worried that That she will commit suicide cause of finance. Please help us.”

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

Shirts for SHEROES
Wondering what to get the feminist in your life? The Abortion Care Network (ACN) has recently launched these fabulous t-shirtsdesigned to raise awareness of and stop the war on women. While ACN is a US-based organisation, their mission to de-stigmatise and normalise the abortion experience while offering support and training to those working in abortion care as international appeal. As ACN’s director Charlotte Taft often says, we are stronger together! The shirt costs about £20, including international shipping.

As a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, ASN receives a subsidy for two volunteers to attend their annual conference in the US. As the only abortion fund in Europe, it’s great for ASN volunteers to have the opportunity to meet and speak to other people working with abortion funds, ask questions and appropriate best practices. We were in awe of the amazing people we met and based on the sessions we attended have come back with valuable insights and a number of ideas based on the sessions we attended, including on:

  • Useful practices for client intake
  • Strategies for dealing with ASN’s exponential growth
  • How much growth can be expected from an all-volunteer fund
  • The pros and cons of all volunteer funds vs. funds that have paid staff supported by volunteers
  • Grassroots fundraising
  • Volunteer management

And much, much more! Stay tuned . . . . we’re very excited about the year(s) to come.


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.