Saturday, October 6, 2012

Women on Waves

Women on Waves: is a Dutch organization started by a doctor in 1999 to provide abortion services to women in countries where abortion is illegal by performing procedures in international waters. They have traveled to Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, and now have their eyes set on Morocco. But Moroccan authorities are attempting to prevent the ship from docking. The group promises a surprise response.

As I understood it, they go to a harbour and take women on board. Then they head to international waters, where abortions are carried out and other medical services/information are provided. Then the women are brought back to shore.

But, even if their ship is prevented from docking at a harbour, what exactly is going to prevent local boats from meeting this ship in international waters? Or, is that the surprise response?
posted by vidur at 5:48 PM on October 4

In an earlier press release the group said the ship was able to provide legal medical abortions for women who are up to six-and-a-half weeks pregnant, while it was anchored in international waters.

Legal abortions in international waters? Really? Legal? Under whose law? Or is the idea really to perform what would be illegal abortions in Morrocco? I don't know about maritime law, but I expect that most countries would not accept such a violation of their sovereignty.

If a Morroccan ship went into Rotterdam to pick up Muslim babies and then headed out to international waters to perform female "circumcisions", I don't think the Dutch would be all too pleased about this. And rightly so.

"what exactly is going to prevent local boats from meeting this ship in international waters?"

They would be called Coast Guard vessels. I imagine Morrocco has some. As we saw when the Turks tried to send aid to Gaza, "international" waters doesn't account for much when they other guy has armed naval ships.

I'm pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with what they are doing. From here, they perform a handful of abortions and then sail off. It's not the number of abortions, she says, it's bringing awareness that's the goal.

But what happens to these women? First, they have an unwanted pregnancy and are feeling a bit desperate about their options. She comes in with a solution, but it leaves them in a bit of a bind later, doesn't it?

And then in the same article, she says she's targeting Morocco because nobody there knows about misoprostol. I find that absolutely impossible to believe. Casablanca, for example, is not exactly a backwater. And folks there spend vacations in France, Spain, and Portugal, and have TV and internet and everything.

I just can't help but feel that although she may mean well, she's taking advantage of these women, and looking down her nose at them due to cultural difference.
Title: Women on Waves
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