by Steven Ertelt
August 30, 2004
Lisbon, Portugal (LifeNews.com) — Portuguese officials used their navy on Sunday to prevent the Dutch abortion boat from entering waters controlled by the western European country in order to distribute abortion drugs.
Women on Waves, the pro-abortion group that sponsors the abortion boat, had promised to remain in international waters just outside of Portugal, after being denied permission to dock on Saturday. Then, late in the day on Sunday, the boat headed for port.
According to WoW, "after receiving no response from the harbor authorities to repeated requests for permission to enter," the Dutch abortion boat headed for the Portuguese coast.
"Within minutes" Portuguese naval vessels arrived on scene. They told the boat’s captain to stop sailing toward Portugal.
A spokesperson for the Portuguese Defense Ministry told the French Press Agency that two Portuguese naval vessels will continue to monitor the abortion ship to ensure that the Dutch boat complies with the law.
Secretary of State for Sea Affairs, Nuno Fernandes Thomaz told daily newspaper Diraio de Noticias Sunday "if the ship decides to disrespect the orders of the Portuguese government it will have to get round a navy vessel."
Operators of the Dutch abortion boat had to keep their ship at sea on Saturday when Portuguese officials prevented the ship from sailing into port. However, abortion activists said the decision was illegal and they looking for a way to get Portuguese women on board to hand out abortion pills.
"It’s a question of legality and morality," Thomaz told Portuguese news agency Lusa.
"Using the abortion pill is prohibited in Portugal. If they plan to administer it, that means they will bring it (on board)," Thomaz said. "For this reason (the boat) should stay in international waters."
Women on Waves plans to take the country to court for preventing it from docking in the northern port of Figueira da Foz.
"We are definitely going to court," Rebecca Gomperts, director of the group, told a news conference.
"We came here to respect Portuguese law but we are treated like terrorists who threatened the security of the country," Gomperts complained.
Gomperts’ group had planned to stay in Portugal for six weeks. The boat will now head to Lisbon and anchor just outside of Portugal’s waters.
She declined to tell members of the media, but hinted that boats from abortion supporters may be used to transport women from Portugal to the abortion ship while it remains in international waters.