Pro-abortion group supported by Mumsnet forum

A group giving information to women in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on how to illegally carry out an abortion is being supported by online forum Mumsnet.

The move was described as “utterly wrong” by one pro-life organisation, while another called for the police to investigate.

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, except to save the life of a mother. In the Republic of Ireland this includes the risk of the mother committing suicide.


Abortion Support Network (ASN) is one of five causes which Mumsnet users have chosen to support in their annual Giving Week. Mumsnet will match money raised, up to a maximum of £25,000.

British charity ASN gives information about providers of abortion drugs as well as funding travel and accommodation for women seeking an abortion.

Unless carried out within the strict boundaries of the law, it is illegal for pregnant women in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to take abortion-inducing drugs.

ASN’s founder Mara Clarke acknowledges that ASN gives out information on illegal abortions, but says she has nothing but contempt for the law.


Mumsnet, which is visited more than 14 million times per month, described all of the groups it is promoting as “brilliant causes”.

Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, called for the police to investigate.

“Abortions carried out outside the bounds of the Abortion Act are criminal acts according to the Offences Against the Person Act and for both the woman and the supplier carry a custodial sentence.”

Anne Scanlan, from pro-life charity Life, said ASN “shows casual disdain for the law”, adding “it is utterly wrong for Mumsnet to be promoting such an organisation”.


ASN’s founder Mara Clarke told The Telegraph: “Are we giving them information about something that’s illegal? Absolutely.

“But do we feel it’s wrong? Absolutely not. I totally hold the law in contempt. We have never been quiet or shy about the fact that we do this.”

Responding to concerns raised, Mumsnet said: “Mumsnet users elected to back the Abortion Support Network (along with four other charities) as part of our annual Mumsnet Giving Week.”

It added: “The Abortion Support Network signposts women who are up to nine weeks pregnant to two organisations”. These groups provide abortion drugs by post.

Disability abortion

Currently there are attempts to weaken abortion laws in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

England and Wales allow abortion up to 24 weeks – and up to birth in the case of some disabilities.

In 2014 there were 190,092 abortions in England and Wales.

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