Monday, 14 October 2013

Abortion Support Network

The Abortion Support Network (ASN) is a volunteer led charity that provides financial support, non-judgemental advice and accommodation to people who need to travel to the UK for an abortion from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Last week they helped their thousandth client. 

There are many reasons why women travel for abortion. ASN's first client was a woman with a young son who had just escaped an abusive relationship when she found she was pregnant by her abuser. The law as it stands in the Republic of Ireland would be happier to see this woman tied to her abuser for the rest of her life or to sweep her experience under the carpet just as they have done with the 200,000 other Irish women who have had to travel.

The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 makes little or no practical difference to the women who are still travelling abroad for abortion today. The Bill does not cover for rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormalities or inevitable miscarriage. The Bill does not help the twelve women every day who will still travel to the UK and elsewhere for a safe and legal abortion. More and more women with life threatening crisis will still need support and finance.

The fact that an organisation like ASN has to exist highlights that particularly now abortion is a socio-economic issue. We don't like to think of women and couples aborting because they cannot afford a child (or another child) but neither can we stand by and watch women and families lock themselves into a poverty trap. The Abortion Support Network helps those women and couples that our government fails. 

The Abortion Support Network has heard from older women, younger women, husbands, sisters, friends, mothers and grandmothers. More than 200 of the women they've heard from were already mothers, some women were in, or trying to escape abusive relationships, some women had serious health complications aggravated by pregnancy, some pregnant from rape, some living in shelters, some experiencing serious mental health problems and at least four had learning disabilities. This is only a snapshot of the women that ASN have helped. This is only a snapshot of the women who have been let down in our country.

Due to the economic time we are in funding for the ASN is down but calls are up. I would like to urge you that if you could afford to give £1 or £2 or £10 or £100 to donate to them to help women and families