New York Times - Ships and Shipping

Friday, 5 October 2012

Dutch "abortion boat" escorted from Moroccan harbor

THE HAGUE, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The so-called "abortion boat" of Dutch organization Women on Waves was escorted from the Moroccan harbor of Smir on Friday morning, Dutch media reported.
The boat, equipped to conduct abortions outside the territorial waters of countries such as Morocco where abortion is illegal, was blocked by the Moroccan authorities on Thursday. But according to Women on Waves, they had already docked another boat at Smir for "several days."
The Moroccan government claimed it was a diversion created to distract media attention from the failure of the real abortion ship to reach its planned destination.
The Moroccan Ministry of Health said the boat was not authorized to perform overtime treatments.
But according to Women on Waves, an authorization is not required because overtime treatments are not categorized under the abortion law. The organization added that it did not want to perform abortions, but to provide information to Moroccan women.
Just before the boat's departure, some 200 Moroccan demonstrators gathered at Smir, carrying pictures of bleeding embryos and posters which reads, "Abortions is a crime against humanity."
Women on Waves claimed it was invited by a Moroccan action group that pursues the legalization of abortion. According to the Dutch organization, between 600 and 800 abortions are performed illegally every day in Morocco, exposing women to several health risks.
Women on Waves was founded in 1999 by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts to provide reproductive health services, particularly non-surgical abortion services, to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws.
Over the past 11 years, Women on Waves ships have visited Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain, sparking protests from anti-abortion groups.
The organization told media the ship will stay near Morocco while they plan their next move.
Source: Xinhuanet News.

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