Women on Waves Founder Discusses Global Abortion Rights

The Feminist Majority Foundation featured Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Waves (WOW), yesterday for a special chat on reproductive rights in honor of Women’s History Month. Dr. Gomperts spoke about WOW’s mission to “empowe[r] women to take charge of their lives, especially concerning reproductive health and abortion” by providing reproductive health services, including abortion, contraception, and counseling in international waters to women living in countries where abortion is illegal. WOW has been received with enthusiasm from many pro-choice supporters, but Dr. Gomperts did note that, “a radical idea like this needs time to settle in the minds of people.” Despite some criticism, though, Dr. Gomperts remains optimistic. “Sometimes radical action is needed to induce change,” she says.

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.

During the chat, Dr. Gomperts also spoke about what inspired her to start WOW, its first voyage to Ireland, and her plans to begin a new trip. To read the transcript of the chat and submit questions for our next chat on reproductive rights, visit the Feminist Majority Foundation’s special Choices Chatroom.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women’s narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


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