Docked Forever? Women on Waves ‘Abortion Boat’ Is No More


The Dutch "abortion boat" run by the organization Women on Waves (WoW) has announced it will anchor, possibly permanently.

After ten years of sailing through international waters, informing women about the abortion pill and distributing it through their organization, WoW has docked the ship, cancelling all of its upcoming trips . It’s a sign of the times. Rebecca Gompert, founder of WoW and from whose expertise and passion the ship was borne, says that opposition to abortion is only growing worldwide and that, in fact, Obama’s leadership has only empowered anti-abortion forces:

"In the
US, anti-abortion groups have multiplied their activity since Obama became
president. Before Bush was their good friend and they were able to do much
the legal way. Now that Obama is protecting women’s right to chose the
number of threats and cases of harassment has tripled. And those American
clubs are training their allies in Europe. We see a lot of aggression now at
protests in countries like Poland and Ireland." 

The Dutch government, in May, changed their abortion laws to serious effect. The government decided to "limit their distribution of abortion pills to specially approved clinics only", according to an article in the international publication, NRC Handelsblad. WoW had received special permission from the former Dutch Health Minister but now they are being denied as a distribution point for the pills. 

The Health Inspection Office is even going so far as to ask the public prosecutor’s office to prosecute WoW for distributing the abortion pill to women off the coast of Spain in 2008. This latest development has also forced WoW into an extremely challenging position, needing to defend itself and build a case. 

Gomperts said that in light of the current obstacles, docking the boat was the only option right now:

"We had planned to campaign this year with a yacht off the
coasts of Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. Our legal system states
that what is allowed under Dutch law is also allowed in international
waters. So women boarding our ship did not have to fear prosecution. Now
they risk prosecution in their own country if the Dutch health inspection
rules that we are working outside the law. That’s a risk we couldn’t take,
so we had to call off the campaign." 

Gomperts has always seen the WoW ship as "righting an enormous wrong." According to the article,

At one point Gomperts envisaged an entire fleet of abortion boats registered
in the Netherlands. They would anchor in international waters and carry out
abortions, distribute medication and train local staff. For Gomperts it was
her way to right an enormous wrong: the 20 million women who undergo illegal
abortions every year worldwide, and especially the 68,000 women who die as a
result each year – a plane crash a day. 

She is far from resigned though. She makes sure, in the article, to also discuss her project, Women on Web, a web site where women from those places around the world where abortion is illegal can request and receive the abortion pill, in the mail.

Read the rest of the article here

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  • http://culturewarnotes.com invalid-0

    Hey, how about we mention the thousands of women killed each day around the world by LEGAL abortion? Not counting, of course, complications like the abortion-breast cancer link (a new study from Turkey just published showing 66% correlation), or the correlation with pre-term birth and subsequent injury or death to WANTED newborns?

    Or maybe mention the thousands of baby girls killed BECAUSE they are baby girls and their families would rather have boys?

    Or talk about why we want abortion: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” – Chief Justice Ginsberg, SCOTUS.

    No wonder you wanted to dock off South America! Get rid of all of those half-human South American Indian mestizo types! Yeah, why don’t you mention THAT in the article?

    Oh, but all of that would be politically incorrect. Sorry I brought it up

  • invalid-0

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  • invalid-0

    Hey, how about we mention the thousands of women killed each day around the world by LEGAL abortion?

    Thousands? Every day? I think you’re talking about deaths due to illegal abortion. Abortion is orders of magnitude safer when it is legal and thus performed in a clean, professional setting.

    Not counting, of course, complications like the abortion-breast cancer link (a new study from Turkey just published showing 66% correlation)

    Thanks for your concern, but the National Cancer Institute states that “having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.” I’m not so good at reading studies, so if there’s new evidence, I’ll let these folks digest it, and if they change their recommendations then I’ll follow that.

    or the correlation with pre-term birth and subsequent injury or death to WANTED newborns?

    Huh?

    Or maybe mention the thousands of baby girls killed BECAUSE they are baby girls and their families would rather have boys?

    That’s a women’s rights issue. You want Feminist Advocacy, they’re right down the hall….

    Or talk about why we want abortion: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” – Chief Justice Ginsberg, SCOTUS.

    Who’s “we?”

    No wonder you wanted to dock off South America! Get rid of all of those half-human South American Indian mestizo types! Yeah, why don’t you mention THAT in the article?

    Because that’s your racism talking, not the author’s, nor that of Women on Waves.

    Oh, but all of that would be politically incorrect. Sorry I brought it up

    Apology accepted. Next time, please study the subject area you’re commenting on a little better. And for heaven’s sake, if you’ve got something racist to say, don’t!

  • amie-newman

    Hi Andreas,

    You may use our content with proper attribution and a link back to our site. Please credit, "RH Reality Check, a progressive online publication covering global reproductive and sexual health and rights news and information" linking to http://www.rhrealitycheck.org. Thank you for your interest!

    amie

     

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check