Tuesday, September 06, 2011

@AbortionSupport Network August Bulletin

It's ASN's August bulletin.  As usual, copied and pasted from my email.  Unusally, I ahve a efw words to say about them and this bulletin.

In particular they are looking for someone who knows Gift Aid and can help them understand the process, and of course, more donations! At the time of writing they only have £400 in their coffers, which is only enough to help one woman. Please, please PLEASE consider donating to them, a one off payment or a standing order.

If you don’t know why you should support them please read the sections titled ‘Women we’ve helped’ and ‘A woman we couldn’t help’.

I donate to ASN because I believe that every woman should have autonomy over their own body, because I do not believe that foetuses are sentient and because if we reduce the opportunity and availability for legal abortions backstreet abortions will take place. These back street abortions will not be regulated, could be dangerous to the health of the women and could be botched.

Please support ASN.

Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. We’re counting down to our second anniversary, and hope you all plan to attend our birthday party on Wednesday 26 October. We are currently in desperate need of funds as the more and women contact us for help. What better time than our birthday to make a gift to ASN – or ask your friends to? Read on!

• Happy almost birthday, ASN!
• All we want for our birthday is . . .
• £1000 campaign
• Gift Aid
• Women we’ve helped
• Thank you!

Happy almost birthday, ASN!
ASN is incredibly happy – and proud – to be turning 2. We couldn’t have made it without you, our wonderful supporters. We are busily putting the finishing touches on our second annual report, looking at all of our accomplishments, and planning for the future. We’re on track to TRIPLE the number of women ASN has helped this year compared to last. This growth has come with its share of challenges, but it has been incredibly rewarding to have helped more than 200 women who have contacted ASN since we opened.

We hope to see you all at our 2nd Birthday party, Wed 26 October from 7.00-10.00 pm (at Navya’s, 61 Swinton Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 9NT). An official invite will follow later this month.

All ASN wants for our birthday is . . .
Right now, we have just under £400 in our coffers. This is just over the cost of ONE abortion under 14 weeks, and not enough to cover abortions at later gestations. While we are expecting another £300 this month in standing orders, September is generally a very busy time at abortion clinics as some female students make the decision to carry on with their studies (instead of their pregnancies) and women with children facing crisis pregnancies are only able to make the trip to the clinic now that their children are in school in the day.

We’d like to use our birthday to request donations. As it’s our second birthday, we’d like to ask you to do any – or in keeping with the theme, any two – of the following:
- Increase your existing Standing Order by £2 a month
- Double your donation (2 X what you give every month or have given in the past)
- Set up a monthly Standing Order in a multiple of two - £2, £4, £8, etc
- Make a “2” themed donation – £2, £12, £22, £200, £222, £2,000
- Get 2 friends to set up a Standing Order

If you make a Standing Order or Direct Debit, please email ASN to let us know, so that we can track, acknowledge, and claim Gift Aid on your gift.

Other ways to give a birthday gift to ASN are:
- Tell 2 friends about ASN
- Get 2 friends to sign up for our mailing list
- Bring 2 friends to our birthday party!
- Promote ASN through #Fan Friday on Facebook or #Follow Friday on Twitter!

£1000 campaign
Last year, we announced a campaign to raise £1000 a month in regular income (Standing Orders) over the course of the year. We need just over £300 more a month to reach our goal! That’s just 30 people making a commitment of £10 per month to help a woman access a safe and legal abortion, or 60 people making a commitment of £5 per month. Or you can help of course by increasing your existing regular donation! Standing Orders help us to know how many women we can help each month.To set up a Standing Order you can complete this form and pass it on to your bank. Many banks also allow you to set up a Standing Order online if you use internet banking.

Now that ASN is a charity (woo-hoo!) we are looking into how we can best claim gift aid – which means that if you are a UK tax payer we can claim tax on your donation making it worth an extra 25%. Please help us do this by:

- Filling out the gift aid form, attached and (NOTE: Email ASN if you need a gift aid form)
- Letting us know by email that you have made a donation via Direct Debit or Standing Order. As banks do not provide us with this information, emailing ASN is the only way for us to acknowledge, track, and claim gift aid on your donations! This holds true for donors both future and past -- if you have made a donation in the past but have not received acknowledgement, please let us know.

Do you know Gift Aid?
We are seeking someone with knowledge of the Gift Aid scheme to help ASN get set up. If this is you, and you have a few hours to spare, please get in touch.

The calls keep coming in
In August, ASN heard from 25 women. Last August, we heard from 6. We are immensely grateful for our donors who enable us to help women, the phone coordinators (Katie, Maddie, Sarah, Jane and Mara) who help these women navigate their way to a safe and legal abortion, to Women on Web for the amazing services they provide, and to the clinics we work with for making it all possible.

Women we helped this month included:
A woman who was literally £20 away from being able to have the funds to travel and pay for her abortion. Can you imagine £20 being the difference between an abortion and having to continue an unwanted pregnancy? Of course ASN was able to help!
A young woman who ran away to a friend’s house to escape her partner who was physically and mentally abusive and using drugs. She was desperately afraid that her family would find her and force her to continue with the pregnancy. ASN was able to help her cover the costs of her flights and procedure.

A lone parent with a young daughter. In addition to needing financial assistance, she also needed an expedited procedure as her passport was due to run out in a matter of days.
A young student who lives with her mother. Her mother, who supports the family on benefits, was refused a crisis loan from the bank. With the help of a discount from the clinic, ASN was able to help.

A married, unemployed couple unable to afford any more children.

A mother of four whose partner has just found work after more than a year of unemployment.

A young mother whose partner recently died tragically. She is living on benefits with no credit card, savings or internet access.

A woman who has been living in a hostel paid for by the housing agency since her partner left her and their children. She has no family support or friends who can help her. She was able to get a crisis loan of £90 and raise enough for flights and we were able to help her with the balance of her costs.

A woman who called very distressed about getting the money together. She couldn't tell her two older children who are unemployed anyway and the father "told her where to go" when she told him and changed his phone number. She was unable to receive a loan and tried but failed to borrow from family and friends.

A Woman We Couldn’t Help
At the end of July, we heard from a woman who only discovered that she was pregnant at 20 weeks. After trying to raise money for flights and travel in every way possible, she found out about ASN. A few phone calls and days later, we were able to arrange for a reduction in the cost of the procedure, a grant, and a host for two nights in London. Unfortunately, when she was scanned at the clinic, she was ONE DAY past the legal limit. Our hearts break for this woman – who, if she’d had the financial means to travel and book immediately, would not now have to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

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.

Thank you!
ASN is funded almost entirely by the generous donations of individual supporters – like you! Without ASN, women would be left with no other financial and practical support towards covering the costs of their procedures and their journeys. Donations to ASN are vitally important to the lives of women faced with unplanned pregnancies.

We are entirely volunteer-run, and our small overhead costs are covered by a regular donation. This means that any money you donate goes directly towards the cost of a woman’s abortion or transport to England.

Due to your support, we have never turned down a woman who could not access an abortion without our financial assistance. (And we’re hoping our 2nd Birthday request will mean that we never have to!)

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
+44 (0) 7897 611 593
Charity Number 1142120

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 the most: money.
ASN is now a charity! Registered Charity Number 1142120


Feminist Avatar said...

Is it just me, or is telling a woman that she is ONE DAY past the deadline for an abortion entirely unhelpful? The later the pregnancy the harder it is to predict the foetus's age, as there is greater variation. So, while a doctor could in good faith say that the pregnancy was too advanced for an abortion, it seems unlikely s/he could have predicted it to within a single day (unless the mother had a very good reason for knowing the exact date of her conception).

The point of course stands that this woman should have been able to access abortion in a more timely fashion- absolutely! But, ONE DAY seems needlessly sensationalist.

Saranga said...

Hadn't thought of that. I'd assumed that was what the woman told ASN and so that was what they reported.
I also didn't know establishing the feotus's age got harder the more advanced the pregnancy got.
If it is that hard how do doctors decide when the pregnancy is too advanced? (I ask this in good faith, not snarkily).

Yes, printing ONE DAY (esp in caps) is emotive, and yes I guess a bit sensationalist. I took it as the author showing their frustration at the process and the unfairness of not being able to access funds earlier.

Maybe I'm biased because of the topic (or maybe I'm just too tires to think further), but I have no problem with the use of the words and the caps.

Thank you for commenting though, I always enjoy reading your thoughts.

Feminist Avatar said...

I guess I just read this and felt a bit like I was being manipulated, when it was entirely unnecessary!

How they determine the age of a pregnancy is really about averages. So, if you know early that you are pregnant, they will ask when your last period was and then count conception as 14 days after that (a model which presumes that women have a 28 day menstrual cycle). Then, after 5-7 weeks, they can do scans to see the size and other developmental markers of the embryo/foetus. As pregnancies usually develop in a similar way, they can roughly calculate an average age. If the conception date and the baby size are similar (they allow a margin of 7-10 days expected growth), they presume the conception date is accurate and use it to calculate the due date.

Now, there can be variation in growth/developmental rates for a variety of reasons, but generally once they are happy that they know when you conceived, they can then use the average to work out if your foetus is 'big' or if it's not growing as expected, etc. It is easier to get an accurate read on the 'age' of a pregnancy when the embryo/foetus is younger, because there is less variation. And at week 20, most foetuses are of a similar size as early variations tend to average out. But, after week 20, it becomes quite difficult to calculate averages as variation becomes more common, which is why women have babies of different sizes. As a result, it becomes much harder for a doctor to be able to say so exactly how old a foetus is. (At that stage, they are usually checking that the pregnancy is within the norms for the expected due date.) But, they can say, this pregnancy is of a larger size or has more advanced developmental markers than is the average for 28 weeks and so a termination would be illegal.

But, as you can see, as both the date of conception is based on an 'average' as is the developmental growth model, being able to say with certainty that a pregnancy is x weeks and y days isn't really accurate. So, if that woman was told that by her doctor (and maybe she was), it seems like she is being set up to feel worse about a bad situation (as it leads to second guessing- what if I booked just one day earlier; what if the cheque arrived one day earlier etc).

I should say this is not to diss the science of pregnancy; clearly this is a model that works as most women's due dates can be predicted within a two week margin. But, that two week margin is the point!