As before, here is July's update from the Abortion Support Network:
ASN July eBulletin: We need your support
Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. June has been almost as busy as May was. We found out that we are losing two members of our phone team, heard from twenty three women seeking assistance, looked at ways to get more people involved with ASN, began planning for next year’s annual report and sent two delegates to the NNAF conference – where we won an award! All exciting stuff. Read on!
- ASN Phone Coordinator – Urgently Needed
- Want to have a film screening in October?
- Get involved
- A few words from you
- Pro Choice Rally 9 July
- Women we’ve helped
- ASN at NNAF
Wanted: ASN Phone Coordinator
The phone is the link between women in difficult circumstances and the funding and information that can help them. Do you live in London and have a cool head, a calm phone manner and the ability to return phone calls and emails within 24 hours? You might make an excellent ASN phone coordinator. Phoners take the phone for one week every four to five weeks and are trained and supported throughout their shifts.
ASN just found out that we will be losing TWO of our phone team this month. One is having a baby and will be back in a few months, and the other is starting a job where she will be unable to take or return calls.
If we do not find at least one new phone coordinator before August, ASN may have to change the level of service we are able to give women.
One of our departing phoners had this to say:
It's hard to put into words why I love being a 'phoner' but I'll try...I really enjoy being able to help women practically through something that can be quite difficult, confusing, emotional, frustrating, and a multitude of other things. I also find it extremely fulfilling to be a part of the process in allowing women access their reproductive rights. I'm going to miss the experience a lot!
If you are interested in more information about being a phone coordinator, please email us.
Want to have a film screening in October?
The fabulous Sarah Diehl is returning to England with her film, Abortion Democracy: Poland South Africa. She will be attending a screening/ASN fundraiser in Newcastle 20 October and is looking for other venues to show between Newcastle and London between 20 Oct and 25 Oct. If you live in the UK and are interested in organising a screening of Abortion Democracy: Poland South Africa, get in touch!
As a volunteer-run organisation, ASN counts on its wonderful volunteers and supporters to help the women who contact us. We are currently seeking the following volunteers. Please contact us if you are interested in one of these roles.
We are looking for hosts who live within an easy commute of Richmond, Ealing, Streatham or Brixton. Have a spare room, pull out sofa, or air mattress and the desire to host a woman in need?
Host a film screening, help plan an ASN event, or create something of your own. For inspiration, check out our Fundraising Toolkit.
A few words from you
As ASN starts writing our second annual report, we wanted to ask you for some intel. If you have made a donation, what compelled you to choose ASN to support? If you are a host, what makes you host? Why are you involved with ASN? Let us know!
Pro Choice Rally 9 July
Several ASN volunteers will be attending the Pro Choice Rally on July 9 from 1.30 to 4.30 pm. The event will be held at Old Palace Yard, Parliament Square in London. If you are interested in attending or learning more, you can find the group on Facebook here. Hope to see you there!
Women we’ve helped
In June, ASN heard from 23 women, including several with extremely complicated and time-consuming situations. We are incredibly grateful to our donors, who provide us with the means to help these women when they call, and to our phone coordinators, who deal with each of these women with compassion and care. Women we heard from this month included:
A single woman in her 20s with a young child. In addition to flights and an initial consultation, she also had to pay for a new passport. After being refused an overdraft by her bank, she rang ASN for help.
A teenage year old student with no financial means who lives with her parents and is afraid to tell them of her pregnancy.
A married couple with two children had a wanted pregnancy become unwanted due to severe foetal abnormalities. As this woman also needed to obtain a Visa to travel, it took several weeks for her to travel for England. Despite having a number of supportive friends loan them money, the combined costs of travel, the procedure, and expedited visas was too much for them. Between a grant from ASN and reduction in fee from the clinic, we were able to help this family.
We were contacted by a mother of three. Both she and her husband are working but struggling to make ends meet. "I wish we were in a situation where we could keep this baby but the fact is we are not. I know some people say all a baby needs is love but that's not true - a baby also needs food, and a roof over its head and someone to pay the daycare while its parents are out earning the money to keep food on the table.”
A single mother in her 30s who sent this via email: I would really like to thank you for your help last week when i had to travel to [England]. You really helped me. The decision was hard enough but with all the costings delayed me even further and without your help at the last minute I wouldnt have been able to do what I felt was right at the time for me. Thank you so much. Words cannot describe how much you helped me and hopefully I can make a donation soon and give back something that may help other women in my situation.
We were contacted by the mother of a young teenage girl. Her mother has other children and supports them all with a part time job. In addition to the stress of facing a crisis pregnancy, she and her daughter were chased down the street outside the family planning clinic by protesters screaming “Murderer!” at them. We were able to help them to obtain a reduction in fee from the clinic and with a grant. They sent us a text to confirm that they got home safely after the procedure and to thank us.
A teenage student who was able to raise almost the entire amount for the abortion and her flights. ASN was able to give her the last £100.
We heard from a woman who has been living in a refuge since escaping from her abusive husband with no financial means. A number of medical complications, coupled with her extreme financial need, made it extremely difficult to arrange for this woman to come to England. Our extreme gratitude to our contact at bpas, who made sure that this woman was able to receive the care that she needed. Thanks also to Sally and Peter who donated £200 towards this patient’s care.
Email from a young woman: “I am about 6 weeks pregnant. It is a disaster. I can not afford to travel to England. No way I can. I can't have this baby. What will I do?”
Single mother of four with no income, no savings, and serious health issues. She was given a free procedure by one of the wonderful and amazing clinics we work with and ASN paid for flights for her and a companion as her health issues made it impossible for her to travel alone.
A separated mother of three who became pregnant while on birth control. "It's just f**king ridiculous, I'm not a criminal. I just can't have this baby. I'm [in my forties], I'm a grown woman and I should be able to make this decision for myself."
Mother of one whose partner left her for another woman shortly after she became pregnant.
ASN thanks these women and men for sharing their stories with us, and for permitting us to share them with you. We also thank the clinics, counsellors and other groups who ensure that these women receive the care they need.
ASN at NNAF
Two delegates from ASN had the pleasure of travelling to the annual National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) conference in the US (Our thanks to NNAF for heavily subsidising our travels!) ASN is one of 104 abortion funds that is part of NNAF and we were proud and inspired to be with so many other people who are working to help women in desperate circumstance. They attended a number of workshops on topics ranging from best practices in intake and fundraising to a moving abortion speak out and an impromptu counter protest that occurred when we discovered a clinic protest a block from the hotel. ASN also won an award for volunteer recruitment! Way to go, ASN! We will be incorporating some of the valuable information we learned into making ASN the best organisation it can be.
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.
With best regards
Abortion Support Network