Dutch Lawmakers Urge Portugal to Allow Abortion Ship to Dock

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Dutch Lawmakers Urge Portugal to Allow Abortion Ship to Dock Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 3, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Dutch lawmakers on Thursday called on the Portuguese government to allow the abortion ship to dock at a northern harbor and allow it to bring women to international waters where they will be given the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

Last weekend, Portuguese officials used two naval vessels to block the Dutch ship from sailing to Portugal after it failed to heed a warning not to sail to the western European country.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot phoned his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Monteiro and said a majority of members of the parliament want Portugal to allow the ship to enter port. The Dutch parliament debated the issue Wednesday.

Monteiro said he would discuss the issue with the Portuguese Prime Minister, Pedro Santana Lopes.

Meanwhile, Women on Waves, the pro-abortion group that operates the Borndiep, a converted tugboat, is reveling in the international attention it is getting as a result of the standoff.

"Ever since our ship left for Portugal … the papers in Portugal are full of discussion about legal abortion and news about the Borndiep," the group said in a statement on its web site.

"Over the last 10 days, abortion has become a fashionable topic in Portugal and the pressure from the media on our little organizations is becoming unbearable," the group said. Despite not being able to distribute abortion pills, the group is happy to be "getting the abortion topic on the agenda in Portugal again."

The pro-abortion group is also looking for Portuguese residents with boats to take women from the mainland to where the Borndiep is anchored.

WOW 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.

Women on Waves plans to take the country to court for preventing it from docking in the northern port of Figueira da Foz.