Abortion ship sets sail for Portugal

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Despite losing a court battle last week to expand its pregnancy termination services offered to women into international waters, the Dutch abortion ship sets sail for Portugal on Monday.

23 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Despite losing a court battle last week to expand its pregnancy termination services offered to women into international waters, the Dutch abortion ship sets sail for Portugal on Monday.

Abortion is only allowed in Portugal to save the life of a pregnant woman or to protect her health, while the Dutch foundation which operates the abortion ship, Women on Waves, is in favour of more liberal legislation.

The foundation is also campaigning against illegal abortions, which are often dangerous for women, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday.

But it failed in a court bid on 18 August to temporarily suspend a ruling that restricts it to carrying out abortions within 25km of the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam. The foundation has decided to set sail for Portugal anyway.

Earlier this year Health State Secretary Clémence Ross said Dutch abortion law clearly stated terminations could only be carried out by clinics that co-operated with a hospital in the district.

The non-profit organisation's full legal challenge is still pending before the courts.

And despite the present restrictions imposed, the foundation is still able to offer abortion pills to Portuguese and other women who are less than 16 days over due. Such treatment is not included in Dutch abortion law.

The ship will depart from Den Helder on Monday afternoon and the foundation will also offer public information on its forthcoming voyage.

Women on Waves was set up in 1999 to highlight the lack of — and in some cases the complete ban on — abortion services in other countries. The group's abortion ship has in the past made trips to Ireland (2001) and Poland (2003).

The idea behind the ship is that women can be taken into international waters — where the ship can operate under Dutch legislation — for a termination outside the jurisdiction of the woman's country.

Despite causing a stir in the international media, no abortions were carried out when the ship visited Ireland.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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