A Shipboard Abortion Clinic is Docked After Ten Years

| 8/17/2009 1:34:02 PM

Women on Waves

Ten years ago a Dutch organization called Women on Waves devised a solution for women seeking abortions in countries that ban it: an abortion clinic on a ship where doctors would perform the delicate operation in international waters under the jurisdiction of The Netherlands.

All told, only a symbolic number of abortions have been performed on the boat, and now that Dutch law is leaning conservative on abortion the ship is docked—for now.

Paul Ames interviews Women on Waves founder Rebbeca Gomperts for Global Post:

Gomperts said WoW's biggest achievement was perhaps a 2004 campaign in Portugal where warships were deployed to prevent the Dutch ship Borndiep from approaching the coast.

No women were able to come aboard for abortions, but Gomperts said the publicity generated helped win over Portuguese public opinion in a referendum that voted to legalize abortion in 2007. Early in 2009, WoW won a case at the European Court of Human Rights against the Portuguese navy’s action.

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