by Steven Ertelt
September 5, 2004
Lisbon, Portugal (LifeNews.com) — The Dutch abortion boat that has been at the center of a western European controversy is heading to Spain to refuel and restock supplies. Afterwards, it will sail back to Portugal in an attempt to overturn a government ban and bring women board to receive dangerous abortion pills.
Last week, the Portuguese government prohibited the abortion boat from sailing into the northern harbor of Figueira da Foz. Later, the predominantly Catholic country used its naval vessels to block the ship when it attempted to violate the request and sail to port.
On Sunday, officials with Women on Waves (WOW), the pro-abortion group that operates the converted Dutch tugboat, confirmed that the abortion ship will sail to Spain to refuel and resupply.
"The Borndiep will return to the Portuguese borders near Figueira da Foz as soon as possible," the group said in a statement about the agenda of the ship.
Sailing to Portugal is part of WOW’s efforts to overturn pro-life laws in European countries. The abortion ship sailed to Ireland in 2001 and Poland in 2003 and gave women the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill there.
The abortion drug was the cause of death of a California teenager last year and a Swedish teen earlier this year.
The Dutch government has prohibited the abortion ship from performing surgical abortions outside of a 16 mile radius of Amsterdam. The ship would then be close enough to dock if necessary should a woman be injured by a botched abortion.
Meanwhile, Women on Waves 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.