Dutch Government Restricts Abortion Ship’s International Operations

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Dutch Government Restricts Abortion Ship’s International Operations

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 14, 2004

Amsterdam, Netherlands (LifeNews.com) — The Dutch government has prohibited an "abortion ship" from sailing to other countries. The boat must stay within 16 miles of a Dutch port with a nearby hospital, in case women suffer from a botched abortion.

The decision takes the wind out of the sails of the ship’s organizers, the pro-abortion group Women on Waves. They had hoped to take the boat again to international waters just outside coastal countries where abortion is illegal.

"They won’t be able to sail to other countries," Dutch Health Ministry spokesman Richard Lancee, told the BBC.

But the abortion advocates who operate the converted tugboat say they won’t be deterred and plan to fight the decision.

"We have the skills and the experience to provide all the necessary medical assistance for this type of abortion," Rebecca Gomperts, the group’s founder, told the Associated Press.

The abortion boat, called the Langenort, caused an uproar and brought our pro-life protesters when it visited Ireland and Poland last year.

Although no abortions were performed when the ship visited Ireland, the boat took three groups of women to sea just outside of Poland. Some were given the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug while others were given contraception and information on sexual reproduction.

Laura Echevarria, a National Right to Life spokeswoman, told LifeNews.com, "We think it’s terrible that they are using international waters to promote abortion and to violate the sovereignty of nations that oppose abortion."

Pro-life advocates are also concerned that women’s lives were put at stake by the distribution of dangerous abortion drugs given to the more than fifteen women who were taken out to sea by the abortion boat.

"RU 486 has been shown both in studies and anecdotally to be harmful and dangerous to women," Echevarria said. "We think it is shameful that women continue to be exploited for political gains."

Last month, a Dutch court ruled that the country’s government couldn’t prohibit abortions from being performed on board the ship.