The Guatemalan Navy detained an abortion boat on Thursday after it advertised free abortions to women in the pro-life country.
The boat, run by the Dutch pro-abortion group Women on Waves, was scheduled to arrive in Guatemala on Thursday, Medical Xpress reports. Like many Central and South American countries, Guatemala protects unborn babies’ lives and bans abortions. Exceptions are allowed when the mother’s life is at risk.
However, the Guatemalan military took the boat into custody on Thursday before it was able to begin doing abortions, based on instructions from President Jimmy Morales, AFP reports.
“The military will not permit this group to carry out its activities in the country,” the military said in a formal complaint.
Here’s more from the report:
The group, Women on Waves, said in a statement that their sailing ship was being “detained” illegally by the military, which it accused of “obstructing a lawful protest against the state’s restrictions on the Guatemalan women’s right to safe abortion.”
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Port officials have ordered the activists to stay on board their ship, saying they had not declared the motive of their trip and therefore could not go ashore.
The pro-abortion group said its papers are in order to enter the country; however, the Guatemalan government said the boat’s crew claimed to be tourists, according to Reuters. Various reports said anywhere from six to 10 abortion activists were on board.
On shore, pro-lifers protested the abortion boat.
“They say they are fighting for life and human rights, but it looks like murder has become a human right,” Gil Hernandez, a seminary student from Cuba, told AFP.
Prior to arriving, the pro-abortion group announced plans to sail the boat to Puerto San Jose and stay there for five days to offer free abortion drugs to women and girls in the country.
“The ship can provide women with free legal medical abortions till 10 weeks of pregnancy after sailing to international waters, 12 miles outside Guatemala,” the pro-abortion group said in a statement.
It also claimed abortion is a “human right” and publicly called on the government to overturn its pro-life laws.
In 2012, Women on Waves experienced a similar situation in Morocco when it tried to sail its boat there. Moroccan authorities blocked the abortion boat, saying it was operating outside of its laws prohibiting abortion. Minister of Education Lahcen Daoudi told AP the boat has to respect local laws, saying, “The people charged with applying the law will apply it on everything to do with the boat.”
Women on Waves responded by trying to get around the country’s pro-life laws by launching a toll-free number for women in Morocco to call to instruct them how to misuse the ulcer drug misoprostol to cause an abortion.
In 2015, LifeNews reported the group also used drones to deliver abortion drugs to Ireland and Poland in violation of the countries’ pro-life laws.
Last year, the pro-abortion group heavily targeted Central and South American countries amid fears that the Zika virus could be causing brain disorders in unborn babies. The group advertised dangerous mail-order abortion drugs to women who thought they may have Zika.
Although Women on Waves says the abortion drug is safe, evidence from the United States indicates that is not the case. In America, where emergency medical care often is readily available, the Food and Drug Administration documented at least 14 women’s deaths and 2,207 injuries from abortion drugs in the past 12 years, LifeNews previously reported.
Women who died from the abortion drugs died from bacterial infections such as toxic shock, hemorrhaging, ruptured ectopic pregnancy and massive heart attack.