Mara Clarke


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    Objectives: This presentation is an intimate and sometimes stark look at the groups most negatively impacted by the abortion law and policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland using real life examples of those still struggling to access legal abortion and the hardships they are facing.
    Methods: The presentation is based on the experiences of clients who have contacted Abortion Support Network (ASN). As ASN’s primary function is to provide financial assistance, the case studies will be of those who are marginalised, at risk, or otherwise without the financial means and support networks required to access abortion services without assistance.
    Results: While those based in Northern Ireland are able to access free abortions if they travel to England, not all people are able to travel. In addition, ASN continues to be contacted by women who have no idea about the scheme allowing free abortions in England, which is obviously due to a lack of knowledge of the availability. Meanwhile, while the Republic of Ireland has repealed the 8th amendment, there has as of yet been no legislative change, and anyone who wants an abortion is still forced to take safe but illegal abortion pills or travel to another jurisdiction.
    Conclusions: as an abortion fund ASN won’t be drawing any conclusions until our phone stops ringing so often due to in country provision. For now, the only conclusion is the one we already know – that the criminalisation of abortion has always and will always most adversely impact the poor.