The Dutch abortion ship sails no more

A move blamed on growing conservatism in the Netherlands


The Dutch abortion ship sails no moreDutch physician Rebecca Gomperts once dreamt of a fleet of floating clinics that would sail the high seas, providing abortions to women in need from the safety of international waters. In 1999, Gomperts launched an “abortion boat”—and an ancillary organization, Women on Waves (WOW)—to help realize her global vision. But after a decade of sailing, the controversial vessel will return to port. The move was forced by a change in Dutch law, which Gomperts says reflects “a growing tendency toward restriction and intolerance” in her country.

Previously, Dutch law allowed women to obtain abortion pills—which can induce miscarriage in the first weeks of pregnancy—from their doctors. That allowed Gomperts to provide them on her ship.“Our legal system states that what is allowed under Dutch law is also allowed in international waters,” Gomperts explained. “So women boarding our ship did not have to fear prosecution.” But that changed when the Dutch government passed a law that limited the distribution of abortion pills to approved clinics, of which the “abortion boat” is not one. “Now [women] risk prosecution in their own country if the Dutch health inspectorate rules that we are working outside Dutch law. That’s a risk we couldn’t take.” Gomperts has called off her campaign, and cancelled future trips.

WOW’s goal of providing clinical abortions on board never did materialize—it only got permission to perform actual abortions in October 2008, and they were never carried out. But Gomperts’ “symbolic” struggle took other forms: an aggressive effort to educate women about “medication available for pregnancy termination.” The doctor blames the growing force of the Christian Democrats and the Dutch Christian Union Party for the new conservative climate in the Netherlands. WOW will work on a lawsuit to challenge the new law.


The Dutch abortion ship sails no more

  1. Maybe this is an example of the upside to having your country flooded by Muslims.

    • Amen to to that,I may disagree with them,but they got it right on this one.

  2. Everything is flipping upside down. This is what happens when there is no God and Liberals are in power.EU is pure evil with these freemasons.

  3. And to think that the Canadian secularist has a lower rate of fertility than the secular Dutch. Our Liberals are cruising at around 1.3 children per female, well below replacement and headed well towards extinction. Even so, liberals don't get it. They're quite content to spend their last days in a geriatric ward surrounded by other geriatrics, perhaps sitting in soiled diapers and spoken to in a language other than English.

  4. I couldn't agree more. Good job.