The Women on Waves ship will arrive in the harbor of Valencia in southern Spain today where it will remain through October 21. According to their Web site, the Dutch non-profit organization Women on Waves was invited by over 30 Spanish organizations in light of confusing, yet strict, Spanish abortion laws.
According to the Times Online, the group will offer free medical abortions in international waters under Dutch abortion laws. Currently, Spanish law only allows abortion up to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape and 22 weeks in cases of fetal malformation. In all other legal abortion cases, there must be a demonstrated risk to the mother’s physical or mental health.
Joseph Luis Carbonell, a Spanish gynecologist who will perform abortions on the ship, told the Times Online that Women on Waves is important because it allows “abortions outside Spanish law for the first time in Spain’s recent history but without violating it.”
This will be Women on Waves’ fourth trip to countries with restrictive abortion laws. The organization traveled to Ireland in 2001, Poland in 2003 and Portugal in 2004, according to Agence-France Presse.