In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic
Abortions were already difficult to obtain and then came the coronavirus.
By Jessica Bateman, Marta Kasztelan
May 1, 2020
The woman was 21 weeks pregnant when she contacted Abortion Without Borders (AWB), a network of activist groups that advises Polish women on how to access safe terminations. Normally, it would have been relatively simple to book a flight to the United Kingdom, where she could legally access a second-trimester abortion. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.
“We got her an appointment, but travel was a different matter,” said Mara Clarke, the founder of Abortion Support Network (ASN), which is part of AWB and helps women obtain abortions overseas. Poland closed its borders and grounded all flights and cross-border public transportation on March 15, meaning the woman would have had to travel to the German border, cross it, and take a train to one of Berlin’s airports.
Abortion Without Borders in the time of COVID-19
April 7, 2020
by Mara Clarke, Member, Abortion Without Borders/Founder, Abortion Support Network
In my 18+ years of talking about abortion, this is the first time that words have failed me. Please bear with me, while I try to explain to you the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on Abortion Without Borders (www.abortion.eu) and the people who contact us, seeking abortions.
Things started changing for Abortion Without Borders (AWB) on 13 March, when Poland announced they would be cancelling all flights, trains and busses – and stopping international post. Like so much of the news around Covid-19, this news was half true and some of these services continued to run. Before the Covid-19 crisis, the Abortion Without Border’s Polish helpline received an average of 300 calls per month. In three days alone, from 13-15 March, the helpline received 114 calls. From 13 March until 31 March, the helpline took 308 calls. This is a full month of calls in approximately two weeks.
Spike in Maltese women seeking abortion help amid flight ban - UK charity
Maltese women are calling the UK for advice on terminating pregnancies
April 1, 2020
A UK-based charity offering support to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws has seen an increase in calls from Maltese women unable to travel to have an abortion.
Last week Abortion Support Network received eight calls from Malta – the same number it usually deals with in one month, founder Mara Klein Clarke said.
Most of the women who called were seeking advice on how to terminate their pregnancies with the travel ban meaning they can not fly to the UK, Klein Clarke told Times of Malta.
Pro-choice activists launch abortion initiative in Poland
Abortion Without Borders to offer women advice and funds to seek treatment abroad
Shaun Walker, Central and eastern Europe correspondent
Tue 10 Dec 2019
An international group of pro-choice campaigners will launch an initiative in Poland this week to provide advice and funding for women to travel abroad to have abortions.
Poland has some of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws, and proposals backed by the rightwing government to introduce a total ban on abortions in 2016 were scrapped only after large-scale protests.
What Happens When an Abortion Doesn't Fully Work
I had an incomplete abortion last year. This is what I wish I'd known about them.
by Rose Stokes
Aug 15 2019
Last year, I had an abortion. My reasons for doing so are deeply personal, painful, and nobody’s business but mine. Once I'd decided to terminate the pregnancy, a woman from British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) asked me over the phone if I wanted a medical abortion—which was still possible at my stage of pregnancy (nine weeks)—or a surgical one. I had no idea.
“What’s the difference?” I asked.
“Well, one you take a pill and the other is more invasive."
Throwing out the bathwater with the baby | Mara Clarke
Malta is among the last European countries to have a total abortion ban in all circumstances. MARA CLARKE, founder of Abortion Support Network, argues that banning abortion doesn’t save babies… it just drives poor people to desperation
5 August 2019
by Raphael Vassallo
Your organisation, Abortion Support Network, offers help to women seeking termination services in (among others) countries where abortion is illegal, like Malta. What sort of service do you provide?
First of all, it’s important to note that Abortion Support Network is a non-political organisation, in the sense that… we don’t tell people how to vote. The groups that campaign for legislative change are the ‘cure’… we’re the ‘band-aid’. We receive calls from women who need assistance, and we explain to them what their options really are. Because most of the time, they wouldn’t know. These are not things they can talk about at home, or even with a doctor…
Abortion law ‘harsher in Northern Ireland than in Alabama’
May 25, 2019
Campaigners say women can face jail sentences up to life in UK owing to 1861 legislation
Alabama’s near total ban on abortion mirrors the situation in one corner of the UK: Northern Ireland.
But pro-choice campaigners in the region say Northern Irish anti-abortion laws are actually stricter than the legislation Republican senators have introduced in the southern US state.
Abortion debate goes mainstream in Malta
Opposition conservatives have labeled the European election a ‘referendum on abortion.’
By Jillian Deutsch
MSIDA, Malta — The controversial debate on Malta's stringent abortion laws has shifted from Facebook forums to the highest levels of politics just in time for the European election.
In the weeks leading up to Saturday’s ballot, the opposition Nationalist Party took out billboard adverts across the island championing the party’s anti-abortion message. Its leader Adrian Delia called the European election a “referendum on abortion” — accusing the ruling Labour Party of secretly supporting greater abortion rights.
FEATURE: What's been happening in Ireland & International Women’s Day in Norway
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
18 March 2019
In the midst of the continuing shower of news from all over the world that I share with you, I’ve been collecting stories for a feature on Ireland. This is not a definitive piece, that will come from those who have been on the frontlines, but is based primarily on written information from a few key people and what has been in the media. This history describes an almost unique series of events, and one worth learning from. It’s a story of optimism winning over pessimism, of passionate positive action breaking down out-of-date barriers, and particularly of women’s personal stories, doorstep advocacy, highly visible supportive doctors and policymakers, all working with government to change the mindset of a nation and win a critical mass of support. They successfully created a sea-change in law, policy and service delivery in the blink of an eye. Edited by Marge Berer
The story in a nutshell
It took only seven months from the referendum that repealed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2018 for the law to be changed, providers trained, methods approved and ordered, and abortion services to become available officially in Ireland on 2 January 2019, free for everyone who is covered by existing schemes, such as the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.
Abortion Support Network expands service to Malta and Gibraltar (Press Release)
Published on February 14, 2019
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, ASN brings the gift of confidential, non-judgemental information and funding for abortion costs to new countries
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
Ireland has safe legal abortion
So we’re expanding to help Malta and Gibraltar too!
Abortion Support Network (ASN), a small UK-based charity providing financial assistance, practical information and accommodation to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws, announced today that it has launched its service to people resident in Malta and Gibraltar. As of today, anyone in those countries will be able to ring the ASN helpline, visit the ASN website or send an email and receive confidential, non-judgmental information about the least expensive way to arrange abortion and travel, clinics that ASN works with in several EU countries, and, where necessary, receive financial help towards the cost of travelling from your home country and paying privately to access a safe, legal abortion.
Currently Malta is the only country in Europe where abortion is completely against the law, whereas the law in Gibraltar allows abortion to save a woman’s life.