Women On Waves: Abortions at Sea


We just found out about an amazing Dutch organization called Women on Waves (WoW) that provides non-surgical abortions on sailboats to circumvent abortion prohibitions in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Poland. The group has provided by-donation abortions to women aboard their boats since 2001. We were so impressed with this group’s ingenious tactics, that we had to share.

WoW exploits a legal loophole, according to Bitch mag’s Hanna Forman, “national penal legislation applies only to territorial waters within a 12-mile radius.” In spite of the loophole, and their amazing work, their actions don’t go uncontested, and the group is often met at sea by government-deployed military vessels, police, and abortion protesters. The challenges to the group’s direct action work are met with online force through the WoW’s sister organization, Women on Web. Women on Web shares information about Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Their web organization’s helpdesk is staffed 16 hours a day, and they provide services in 12 different languages.

The people working for both of these organizations deserve our support, and we urge you to head over to their website and donate so women who need safe abortions can finally have some form of access. While you’re at it, be sure to check out the National Network of Abortion Funds, a group that gathers money for women in the United States to pay for their abortions. You can also help women traveling from Ireland to England pay for their abortions here, and last but not least, visit the Safe Abortion Hotlines (another arm of WoW) where they list phone numbers and email addresses of safe abortion hotlines in more than 10 countries.

[Ed. Note: The information from this post comes from Hannah Forman over at Bitch magazine]

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