Nearly four years ago, Ireland voted to repeal the 8th amendment. But every year ASN still hears from hundreds of people who need help accessing an abortion. Since 2019, we’ve funded 179 clients who needed to travel – and the phone is still ringing.
It’s only because our amazing network of supporters – people like you – that we’re able to be there to help. But we’re on track to spend more than £15,000 to help Irish clients in the rest of this year alone. Anything you can give will help us be there help people like Lara*, and Saoirse*, who was denied an abortion in Ireland despite being within the legal limit.
Last year, 16-year-old Saoirse* found out she was pregnant and told her mother Kathleen* straight away – she didn’t know what to do. They called My Options and made her an appointment at the local hospital as soon as they could, where Saoirse was able to get a scan. She was 11 weeks along. They were just in time.
But after the scan, the doctor told them it was the hospital’s choice not to perform the abortion because Saoirse was close to the legal limit. Despite Saoirse being within the legal limit, and entitled to access an abortion at home, staff at the hospital just said no.
They tried to discuss it at the appointment, but it ended with staff making derogatory remarks about both Kathleen and Saoirse, leaving them feeling upset and embarrassed for asking about the procedure at all.
They had just a few days to arrange the abortion with another doctor, and they didn’t know where to turn. Then Kathleen picked up the phone to us.
By the time we spoke to Saoirse, she was over 12 weeks along. We were able to help them make an appointment in England for two weeks’ time, but then Saoirse discovered her passport was out-of-date and had to get a new one before we booked flights. This took another two weeks, and extra expense – but neither Saoirse nor Kathleen had thought they needed to check their passport expiry date for an abortion they should be getting in Ireland. Once this was all sorted out, they had £175 left to put towards travel, accommodation, and the procedure. ASN covered the remaining £650.
It takes a village
Because the people left behind in Ireland tend to need later abortions and have more complex needs – just like Lara – our average grant to a client in Ireland is more than £700. For every Irish client, we need 20 amazing supporters to donate £35 – can you be one of them?
*Names have been changed.