"Abortion boat permit is a scandal"

23rd April 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 April 2007, THE HAGUE – Fundamentalist Christian SGP leader Bas van der Vlies says it is a scandal that state secretary for public health Jet Bussemaker has granted the Women on Waves foundation a permit. The permit in question allows the foundation to operate a medical facility on board a ship in international waters to help women terminate pregnancies of up to seven weeks. He said he would be "reprimanding" the state secretary on Tuesday during question time in Parliament.

23 April 2007

THE HAGUE – Fundamentalist Christian SGP leader Bas van der Vlies says it is a scandal that state secretary for public health Jet Bussemaker has granted the Women on Waves foundation a permit. The permit in question allows the foundation to operate a medical facility on board a ship in international waters to help women terminate pregnancies of up to seven weeks. He said he would be "reprimanding" the state secretary on Tuesday during question time in Parliament.

"It really is crazy that a cabinet with (Christian democrat) CDA and ChristenUnie has taken a worse decision than the previous government, which had D66 in it," Van der Vlies said. Bussemaker's predecessor Clémence Ross (CDA) only allowed the abortion boat to operate within 25 km of the Amsterdam Slotervaart hospital.

The Council of State ruled last year that Ross could not justify the 25-km limit. Van der Vlies thinks that Bussemaker should have given justification for the limited operation area rather than grant a permit that does not stipulate such a limit.

Moreover he wants the state secretary to look into whether an appeal to international law could rein in the boat's operation.

Rebecca Gomperts of the Women on Waves foundation was also disappointed however, at the fact that her facility will only be permitted to perform abortions of up to seven weeks. This is only marginally longer than the curettage treatment which the organisation has long had a permit to carry out. 

Women on Waves has not yet received official notice from the public health ministry about the decision. The foundation plans to take the matter to court so that it will be allowed to perform terminations of up to 12 weeks.

Women on Waves rents ships that sail under the Dutch flag so that Dutch law allowing abortion under certain conditions is in effect on board. Since 2001 the foundation has performed terminations at sea for women wanting abortions in countries where it is banned.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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