Thursday, June 25, 2009


Help Women Obtain Abortion Services. Join the Abortion Support Network!

You've heard of "armchair activism." But have you given any thought to "futon activism"? The Abortion Support Network will be a network of volunteers who open their homes to Irish women forced to travel to London for second-trimester abortions.

The “right to choose” is less than an illusion for Irish women. The 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland, denying female citizens the access to NHS abortion available to every other woman in the United Kingdom. Abortion is also illegal in the Republic of Ireland. Irish women have three choices: travel and pay for a private abortion plus travel and accommodation costs, carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, or seek illegal alternatives. The women who choose to travel to England (5,773 in 2008 according to the Department of Health) face costs ranging from ₤500 to ₤2,000.

While campaigners fight for the rights of women to have access to safe and legal abortion in their own countries, the Abortion Support Network will seek to make their journey a little less of a hardship. Our volunteers will provide women with a place to stay, a meal, and transportation to and from the clinic. The Network will begin in
London but hopes to expand to Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and other areas of England where Irish women travel. Ultimately, we will also raise funds to help women pay for the cost of the procedure and travel.

The Abortion Support Network will be an all-volunteer organization. We have relationships with several clinics and women’s organizations in Ireland and England that will refer women to us. Abortion Support Network hosts will provide a safe place to sleep, transportation to and from the clinic, and a meal. When needed, other volunteers will transit patients to hosts' apartments. Volunteers sign up for days to
be "on call" and will generally host once or less per month. To host, you need a place a guest can sleep and the willingness to create the space in your life for this direct-action work.

Have a spare bed, couch, or air mattress? Want to get involved in other ways? For more information, visit or contact

Let us know how you heard about us, and someone will contact you to set up an interview.

Note: We expect to begin housing Irish women no later than 1 September 2009. If you are a clinic or other organisation that serves Irish women, please get in touch so that we can let you know when we are up and running and, should you wish, link to you from our website.

About the Abortion Support Network

The Abortion Support Network will provide housing and ultimately funding for Irish women forced to travel to England for abortions. It was founded by abortion rights activist Mara Clarke. Mara was previously involved with Haven Coalition (, a network of volunteers who open their homes to low income women forced to travel to New York City to obtain second trimester abortions. The Abortion Support Network is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds (