As everybody probably knows by now, I'm training for a 10k race and raising funds for the Abortion Support Network while doing so. Below is their September newsletter which explains why I chose to raise money for them, over other charities.
On the running front, I went out to the gym this morning and did 5k on the treadmill. It was a mix of running and walking but i did manage to run at a speed of 10km per hour for some of it. Go me. I'll add another pound to my fundraising pot. I'm rather tired now.
ASN September Newsletter: Autumn is for Activism!
- ASN in the News
- Help us spread the word
- Women we’ve helped
- Thank you for your support!
September 28th is the International Day of Action for Decriminalization of Abortion. While ASN is not a campaigning organisation, we have been so, so excited to hear about, and look forward to participating in, some of the events that are happening, including:
26 September, London, 6.30 pm
Consequences of criminal law on abortion: UK and Internationally
Panel discussion hosted by Reproductive Health Matters
26-29 September, Dublin
Choosing Choice: Packing Up Abortion Stigma
This exhibition, which includes a public participation piece, will feature photographic works from Rose Comiskey (Ireland), Emma Campbell (Northern Ireland) and digitised print works from Heather Ault (USA).
28 September, Belfast, 5.00 pm
Spaniard Bar Event
Alliance for Choice Belfast Social Activists will give out information on how to access a safe, legal medical abortion with pills in Northern Ireland, all over a few drinks and friendly conversation.
28 September, Dublin, 2.00 pm
2nd Annnual March for Choice
Gather as activists, as rabble rousers, as change makers - to enjoy each other’s company, to remind the world that Ireland is Pro-Choice and to remind the country that we will be here to work, speak and share until Ireland has free, safe, and legal abortion! Organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign of Ireland.
28 September, Dublin
March for Choice – After Party and ASN Fundraiser
Whether you do or don’t come to the March for Choice, there will be a knees-up in Toners Pub on Baggot Street right after the march ends! No entrance fees but there will be buckets going around for ASN, courtesy of Dublin Nights for Choice.
3 October, Cork, 8.00 pm
Public Meeting/Discussion “After the X-Case legislation – where now?”
Panel will include ASN’s Mara Clarke, Mary Favier from Doctors For Choice Ireland and Sandra McAvoy from Cork Women’s Right to Choose Group.
For more information on events happening around the world, you can visit the International Action Day to Decriminalize Abortion or the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion.
ASN in the News
“Texas, Ireland, Abortion and Ross Douthat Round 2”
The wonderful Katha Pollitt plugs ASN in her piece responding to a NY Times columnist who held IRELAND up as a shining example of why Texas shouldn’t worry about making abortion illegal.
Education for Choice Blog
“Women with money have options, women without money have babies”
ASN’s Mara wrote a blog for the INCREDIBLE Education for Choice, a small non-profit that goes into schools across the UK and teaches sexual and reproductive health and education from the pro-choice perspective.
Help us spread the word
ASN is about to embark upon an outreach campaign to target the women who may be most in need of our services. Our plan is to reach out to rape crisis centres, women’s refuges and student unions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. We would also be interested in reaching out to groups helping migrants and asylum seekers if someone could help us to indentify organisations that can help these women obtain the documentation they would require to travel. If you work for or with these types of organisations, or have some names or numbers we should have, please get in touch!
Women we’ve helped
In August, ASN heard from 37 women, including:
A young woman whose family was pressuring her to continue the pregnancy . She is struggling to care for her existing children without sufficient support from her partner. ASN was able to both help with both funding and accommodation.
Three women from countries other than Ireland and Northern Ireland, seeking information on obtaining an abortion in England.
A young woman who managed to save almost £200 from her only income, which is busking on the street.
A woman who thought she would have enough money to cover the cost of her flights and procedure until her pay was cut as she couldn’t work the bank holiday.
A woman with MS who was warned not to get pregnant on her medication, who fell pregnant despite using hormonal birth control. As she doesn’t live close to a major airport, she also needed two nights of hosting and her partner had to take time off work to watch their children.
A breast cancer survivor terrified about what pregnancy hormones would do to her cancer treatment but too afraid to seek medical advice locally.
A woman suffering from depression and recovering from an accident that left her physically disabled. To add to her distress about the pregnancy, she was accosted by protesters outside her local family planning agency, who followed her down the street hurling abuse. She was able to come up with £70 extra towards the procedure by buying her kid’s school uniforms from second hand shops. She said: "I can't make words to tell you how you have helped me. I was lying in bed, so depressed not knowing what to do. I prayed to God for help and God must have heard me because you rang."
A mother of four who came over for an abortion at 14 weeks only to be told her medical condition required her abortion to take place in a hospital setting, meaning that she’d wasted almost £500 on transport costs and had to come over again. “I used to have a job but it’s so expensive to have someone mind all the children. My partner has only been able to find work sporadically and we’ve been rationing food for the kids and have had the electricity turned off we’re so short of money. We borrowed money for the flights and that money will need to be paid back too.” ASN was able to provide £375 towards the procedure as well as host her for two days.
We also heard from a number of young teens who were making the decision to continue with their studies rather than their pregnancies. These girls, who ranged in age from 17 to 19, did everything from selling phones and electronics to borrowing from friends to help raise funds. Some were calling with the help of their parents. Others were able to tell a friend and a few were acting in complete isolation. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to help each one of them obtain the abortion they were seeking. This was from one of them:
“My boyfriend and I are students with no income. . .I am aware your services cannot provide financial support to everyone who needs it however at aged 18 I do not feel ready to continue with a pregnancy. At the moment I am severely struggling with the position I am in, I am feeling very depressed and unable to eat or sleep. Because it is only me and my partner who knows about my situation it is a hard thing to cope with and any other support you can provide I will greatly appreciate at this time. I hope you can understand the difficult place of my life that I am in and can consider me for your financial aid.”
And in August, we heard from a woman who we could not help:
We heard from a mother in a relationship with a partner who is both physically abusive and abuses drugs, including in front of their children. The day we spoke to her she’d come home to find he’d damaged the house. She has no family, so savings and no other support. We lost contact when her battery died and have not been able to reach her since.
We thank these women for allowing us to share their stories. Please note that all monies are written as GBP regardless of where clients are resident.
Thank you for your support!
Thanks ever so much to everyone who offered us their smart phones as well as all the amazing people who contacted us expressing interest in volunteering with ASN. ASN has now received two smart phones thanks to Alisa M and will have a third turning up next month. This is extremely helpful as we grow and add additional volunteers! Speaking of which, we’re thrilled to have found some excellent people to join Team ASN! We’re really excited about some of the things we have coming up and look forward to sharing them with all of you.
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.