In the Blog

Abortion boat runs aground on the way to Ecuador

June 17th, 2008     by Megan Griffith-Greene     Comments

Women on Waves, the amazing Dutch abortion activism group, has hit a snag, but isn’t letting that stop them. We wrote about WOW in the last issue: the group captains a ship called Harmony, which drops anchor in international waters off the coast of countries where abortion is illegal, and gives women access to safe, medical abortion. In doing so, they have been successful at getting reproductive rights back on the public agenda (and Portugal, where Harmony was met by warships four years ago, finally legalized abortion last year).

After dealing with bureaucratic mess where the ship lost its Dutch license, Harmony was back on the water, headed this time to Ecuador, where the World Health Organization estimates that 95,000 illegal and dangerous abortions take place every year. Unsafe abortion leads to 30,000 hospitalizations and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in Ecuador.

Unfortunately, the ship ran aground in a tropical storm. But they’re not letting that stop them.

Instead, they are working with a group in Ecuador and opening a hotline to give women access to drugs and information on other issues related to sexuality:

To call attention to the right for objective sexual education and legal and safe abortion services, the Ecuadorian Organisation, Coordinadora Juvenil por la Equidad de Genero, invited Women on Waves to Ecuador. On the Women on Waves ship, women can have a medical abortion in international waters where Dutch law applies. … But to do a safe abortion with pills, there is no need for a Dutch ship, as this is the age of worldwide communication, internet and mobile phones. Women from Ecuador can be free to decide themselves and take their lives in their own hands with the support of local organisations as the Coordinadora Juvenil, independent of the restrictive abortion laws. The hotline (tel: 593 99004545) that opens today will provide women in Ecuador with information how they can have a safe abortion with pills in their homes and will provide information on other issues related to sexuality.

If you want to help them out, check out the Women on Waves website. Make a donation, sign a petition or learn how to get active.

Tags: activist report, body politics

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