Abortion Boat Operators Defy Dutch Court Order, Sail to Portugal

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Boat Operators Defy Dutch Court Order, Sail to Portugal Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 23, 2004

Amsterdam, Netherlands (LifeNews.com) — Operators of the Dutch abortion boat are willfully violating a judge’s order to stay within 16 miles of Amsterdam in order to provide medical care for women who may suffer from a botched abortion. The converted tugboat set sail for Portugal on Monday.

Abortion is only allowed as a last resort to save the life of the mother in Portugal, a Catholic country in western Europe.

Women on Waves, the pro-abortion group that operates the abortion ship Langenort must follow Dutch law and regulations when in international waters and is prevented from performing surgical abortions outside of the waters near Amsterdam.

However, the boat’s staff will likely either distribute the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug or information on birth control.

Last week, a Dutch court upheld the travel restrictions on the boat.

The lawsuit filed by Women on Waves against the distance restriction continues, but the court order on Wednesday was thought to have put the brakes on the Portugal trip.

The court sided with Dutch health minister Clemence Ross and said that it was important for the boat to have a doctor on hand in case complications result from a failed abortion. The distance restriction was attached to a grant the Dutch government gave the abortion ship to perform first-trimester abortions.

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

The ship caused an uproar when it visited Ireland in 2001 and Poland in 2003.

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.

Polish authorities have been investigating to determine if the boat violated any laws. Operators of the abortion ship were fined when they disobeyed a local port director’s orders not to dock.

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

"RU 486 has been shown both in studies and anecdotally to be harmful and dangerous to women," Laura Echevarria, a National Right to Life spokeswoman told LifeNews.com. "We think it is shameful that women continue to be exploited for political gains."