Women on Waves left the Netherlands today to travel to international waters off the shores of Ireland, where abortion is illegal, to provide abortion and reproductive health services to women on a specially equipped vessel. FMF’s National Clinic Access Project’s staff is providing technical expertise in contemporary threat management and is assisting in the development and implementation of security protocols for the ship. The Dutch vessel, led by gynecologist Rebecca Gomperts, will provide non-surgical abortions, contraception, counseling, and other services. Gomperts and her mostly female crew hope that the presence of Women on Waves will encourage dialogue about abortion in Ireland.
According to the Irish Family Planning Association, more than 6,000 Irish women traveled to Britain to obtain abortions last year. It is unknown how many others attempt at-home abortions or seek unsafe, illegal abortions. The United Nations estimates that 80,000 women and girls worldwide die annually from complications resulting from botched, illegal abortions. Women’s health and feminist organizations estimate the number to be greater than 200,000.
To learn more about abortion and population issues worldwide, you can purchase a copy of the Feminist Majority’s award-winning video, “Abortion for Survival” in our Online Feminist Store.
For more information on Irish abortion law and reproductive health access, please visit the Irish Family Planning Association