Expatica news

Pro-choice group issues abortion instructions

8 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — With its abortion ship barred from entering Portuguese waters, Dutch pro-choice foundation Women on Waves has placed instructions on the internet for Portuguese women to carry out self-induced terminations.

The foundation’s website (www.womenonwaves.org) is giving instructions in Portuguese and English telling Portuguese women what medicine to take if they want an abortion, Dutch public news service NOS reported on Wednesday.

Dutch abortion doctor Rebecca Gomperts has also made an appearance on Portuguese television demonstrating how the method works. She said the information can be found elsewhere, but claimed it was difficult for Portuguese women to find.

Gomperts said the use of Misoprostol — also known as Cytotec or Arthrotec, a medicine used for stomach ulcers — can induce an abortion. But she warned the method could be dangerous if not done properly and should not be used when safer alternatives are at hand.

The medicine is available at many chemists and many women already buy it, but reportedly do not know how to use it. “If women already perform illegal abortions on a large scale, let them do it in the safest way possible,” Women on Waves gynaecologist Gunilla Kleiverda said.

Abortion is illegal except in the case of medical necessities in the staunchly Catholic Portugal and the Dutch abortion ship has thus been refused entry to its territorial waters.

The Women on Waves group had hoped to take Portuguese women on board and offer them the abortion pill in international waters, where it can operate under Dutch law. It also wished to supply women with information.

Women on Waves claims 20,000 to 40,000 illegal and unsafe abortions are committed in Portugal every year and is campaigning for more liberal abortion legislation. Its abortion ship has previously sailed to Ireland and Poland.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news