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October eBulletin

Published on

Welcome to your October
ASN e-bulletin

Pro-Choice activists, we salute you!

What can we say but wow. And by that we mean, WOW! Pro-choice public meetings, street actions, marches and demonstrations across the UK and Ireland for the International Day to Decriminalise Abortion. Marie Stopes opens an abortion clinic in BELFAST. ASN is about to turn three, and invites you NOT to come to our party. More opportunities to show ourselves as the pro-choice majority. ASN heard from 36 women last month.
  • Abortion activists, we salute you!
  • An abortion clinic in Northern Ireland?
  • Get ready for the non-event!
  • Opportunities for pro-choice activism
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Thank you for the Gift Aid
Abortion activists, we salute you!

September and the start of October saw a huge surge in pro-choice activism. Following on the All Ireland Rally for Choice in July, both Ireland and Northern Ireland had public meetings, street actions and rallies around the International Day to Decriminalise Abortion. There was also a rally outside Westminster Parliament and a public meeting hosted by Voice for Choice. Words cannot convey how exciting it was to be involved with some of these events, in particular the historic March for Choice in Dublin, the largest in 20 years!

Some highlights of the coverage:

Activists dump 600 coat hangers in Jeremy Hunt’s office

Video of March for Choice in Dublin

Mara’s speech at the March for Choice in Dublin

ASN’s Jen speaks at the pro-choice demo in London

Street action in Belfast

MSI Belfast

In case you’ve missed one of the 1,200+ pieces of media coverage, Marie Stopes will open a clinic offering abortion services in Belfast. ASN welcomes and celebrates any additional resources offering unbiased, accurate information about sexual and reproductive health to the women of Northern Ireland and Ireland. We hope that this clinic will encourage the government in Northern Ireland to publish the guidelines on abortion, and that the provision of medical abortion in Northern Ireland will help educate the public about this safe and effective method of terminating a pregnancy.

While this is an amazing step forward for the women in Northern Ireland and Ireland, this will not have an impact on the majority of women facing unplanned pregnancies. Abortion Support Network will still be needed – and will still be available – to offer support to these women.

Get ready for the non-event!

October is coming up, which means it will soon be the third anniversary of when ASN opening its virtual doors. This year, we’d like to invite you all NOT to come to the party celebrating our third year of helping women access safe and legal abortions. The party will not be happening on Thursday 25 October. You will be getting an e-invite a week beforehand with information on how not to attend.

Opportunities for pro-choice activism

While ASN is not a campaigning or advocacy organisation, many of our volunteers engage in pro-choice activism, and we hope the rest of you do too!  Our greatest wish is for the abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland to be liberalised. Don’t worry – if at some point in future women living in Ireland and Northern Ireland are able to access safe and legal abortions in their own countries, ASN will be celebrating, and thinking about what we can do to make safe abortion more accessible to women, including women in other countries.

But in the meantime, there are heaps, and heaps, and heaps of opportunities for pro-choice activism, in Ireland, Northern Ireland and here in England (& Scotland & Wales). Given the recent spike in anti-abortion activity in the UK, we’d like to highlight Abortion Rights, the UK’s national pro-choice campaign for those of you who want to ensure that all women in the United Kingdom – including those in Northern Ireland – have access to safe and legal abortions.

We’d also like to give a shout out to the 40 Days for Choice Campaign, Education for Choice’s campaign to combat the 40DaysForLife anti-choice activists who have set up camp outside a number of clinics in England. 40 Days for Choice has is putting together a collection of blogs during the 40 days, including “It’s the Economy, Stupid” and “My Pro-Choice Journey” by ASN volunteers.

There is also the UK Feminista Feminist lobby of parliament, Wed 24 October 11 am – 4 pm

On Twitter or Facebook? Try following:

Unlike Youth Defence, I trust women to decide their lives for themselves. 
The All Ireland Rally for Choice
Choice Ireland
Alliance for Choice
Rally for Choice
Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Association
Abortion Rights

Women we’ve helped

In September, ASN heard from 36 women, making it our second busiest month EVER. Women we’ve heard from included:

“I was looking for your help for my sister she is 14 weeks pregnant and isn’t coping mentally with being pregnant and wants to end her life! We need help to get her an abortion but she isn’t working and can’t financially pay for it can you please help.”

“I’m 14 weeks pregnant I’m booked in for an abortion, I have to travel from northern Ireland I’m having financial difficulties the cost of the procedure is £490 I have managed to get £200 towards the cost I would be ever so grateful if you could help me as I won’t be able to go there if you can’t I’m in a big need for help. I have recently been in hospital and my body can’t cope with pregnancy I’ve recently had surgery I thought the hospital here was going to carry out abortion but they said they couldn’t as it’s not legal.”

“I am pregnant and cannot afford to fly to the UK for a termination. I have been researching prices for the last 2 days. I am a college student and am having difficulties paying my college fees so I really don’t think I can access the extra money for a termination. It would help me so much if you can assist me in any way.”

“I’m growing more desperate by the week.  I’m 6 weeks pregnant with an unwanted baby that I cannot have for financial and personal reasons.  My boyfriend is unwilling to help with the costs of the abortion, as are my parents and his family.  I have to cover this entire cost by myself and I am an unemployed student who will probably be homeless before long.  Please let me know if there is anything you can do to help.”

“I have 2 girls am living on benefits and just found out I’m preg and the dad doesn’t want to know. I can’t go through with another pregnancy and the dad not involved with the baby….please help me.”

“I’m a college student and I’m pregnant. I can’t tell a soul and I’m devastated. My parents work so hard to put me through college that I can’t drop out to have a child. Never mind afford to support a child, nor necessarily want one at this stage in my life. Is there any assistance I could have or even an ear?”


Thank you for the Gift Aid!

Thanks to all of you who have filled out your Gift Aid forms! Have you donated to ASN since May 2011? If you are a UK taxpayer, and have not filled one out, please register for gift aid today and automatically increase your donation to ASN by 25% – at no cost to you! ASN’s Gift Aid registration page gives you the option of filling in your details online or downloading a form that you can post in to us. Thank you in advance for helping your donation go further!

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 the women in difficult circumstances who have contacted us.

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is an all-volunteer charity that provides accommodation, financial assistance and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for law reform, ASN is the only group on record providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need most immediately: money.