Friday, May 17, 2013

Abortion Support Network May newsletter

As usual, copied and pasted from their email.  Some format changes done by me so it reads better in blogger.
ASN May Newsletter: Spring into abortion access!
• A word from our director
• New ASN trustees
• Fundraising campaigns
• ASN in the news
• Women we’ve helped
• Minding ourselves

A word from our director
In April, ASN heard from 51 women, making April ASN’s busiest month ever. April included one week with contact from 26 women and another week with 21. In April last year we heard from 26 women. In April of 2010, we heard from nine. Those of you who have been reading these newsletters for some time will know that we are continuing to grow exponentially. We believe this is due to a combination of the economic situation in Ireland and Northern Ireland and ASN’s higher profile. We do the best that we can to help these women and families, but with calls per week hitting the 20+ mark, we are struggling to maintain the balance of raising funds, answering calls, and having the ability to provide compassionate, useful client care to women – all while working our day jobs. We thank you as always for your support, and we look forward to this exciting time of growth.

Introducing the new board!
ASN is super excited to introduce our new Board of Trustees! Following are short bios on the three new people who will be helping us as we grow:

Caroline Kelly was born in Dublin, but has lived in England for almost twenty years, Caroline is delighted to be joining ASN as a trustee. She very much hopes to be able to use her skills as a lawyer to contribute to the growing success of ASN over the next few years.

Jennifer Reiter is an American who has worked and volunteered in sexual and reproductive health care for over ten years. She currently works as a Sexual Health Projects Co-ordinator and has previously worked as a Trainer and Project Manager at Education For Choice, a charity dedicated to providing abortion and pregnancy decision-making education for young people and training for professionals. In the U.S., she was a reproductive rights advocate for chapters of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin and Illinois.

A Dubliner living in England, Caoileann Appleby delighted to be joining the fantastic team at ASN as a Trustee. She hopes to use her skills as a professional nonprofit fundraiser to contribute to growing ASN over the next few years. You can follow her @Qaoileann if you’d like!

These lovely ladies will join Sarah Fisher and Carolyn Phillips, and of course your host, ASN Director Mara Clarke. The team will work with ASN’s volunteers and supporters to steer ASN through this incredible time of growth.

Fundraising activities
Thanks so much to everyone who donated to our recent fundraising campaign. Our mail out and social media push helped raise just over £800 for the women who continue to call ASN. If you missed the campaign, there’s never a wrong time to donate to ASN.
Run, ASN, Run!
ASN is excited that there are five women running the Flora Mini Marathon to support us. Heather, Noreen, Emma, Nick and Becca will be doing 10k on June 3rd to raise money for and awareness of our work. If you're in Dublin on the 3rd, please come cheer them on! Or sponsor one of the runners here. The team is also seeking someone who can give them a good deal on ASN-branded t-shirts, so if you know one, please contact
Are you a crafty one?
Every year ASN takes part in the National Network of Abortion Funds Summit. This year, NNAF is holding a craft auction. Monies raised will go to support NNAF and NNAF member funds, including, of course, ASN! If you are crafty and are interested in donating something for the auction, please email!

ASN in the News
Ireland agrees abortion bill: but only to save mother’s life, Channel 4 News, 1 May 2013. “It is a testament to how truly horrific the situation currently is for Irish women who have an unplanned pregnancy, that this proposed legislation is actually a victory,” said Mara Clarke, founder and director of the Abortion Support Network.

Irish government under pressure over abortion, Deutsche Well, Inside Europe Edition (English Language), 26 April 2013.

Women we’ve helped
In April, ASN heard from 51 women, our busiest month ever. This of course follows several other busiest months. We thank our fantastic phone team for their tireless efforts.

A young woman with health issues that meant she had to be seen in a hospital setting. We were able to help her find her way to this, including a grant and assistance in finding a place to stay near the hospital. "Thank you so much - I'm going to cry... I think you're wonderful".

A 25 year old mother of two whose partner left her three days after she found out she was pregnant.

A young mother of two who feels unable to cope, emotionally and financially, with another child.

A young woman studying for her A-levels who decided to access a safe medical abortion through

A mother who is an in-patient at a medical institution and is financially bereft. Her travel costs were covered as result of the staff where she is staying taking up a collection and ASN was able to help cover the cost of her procedure as well as arrange a host. "Thank you so much again. Really i could not have gone to uk until much later without your help. Thank you so so much. You have helped me so much and im so very very grateful for it. I will never forget this help."

A single mother with HIV and very limited English. We were able to fund the entire procedure for her.

A woman who has been in and out of refuges due to her unsupportive, abusive partner.

A migrant worker with limited English. We were able to help her afford the cost of the procedure.

A young mother surprised to find herself pregnant again despite using contraception and breastfeeding her young child.

A mother who has had a number of bereavements as well as in financial trouble. “I will be a one woman crusade after this, this country is in the dark ages about this, it is not a decision I am taking lightly, I am making the right decision for my beautiful, healthy, happy child. We have no money, barely have enough to eat.”

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

Minding ourselves
In April, ASN director Mara Clarke was quite chuffed to be part of a panel discussion on the Impact of the Catholic Church on the Health of Irish People in London. Held at the House of Lords and organised by the group Mind Yourself (formerly the London Irish Women’s Centre), the event was an excellent opportunity for the panel and those in attendance to discuss a range of views. For more great events like this, follow Mind Yourself on Twitter!

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 many women who have contacted us for support.


Call +44 (0) 7897 611 593 or email

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.

Registered Charity Number 1142120

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