Moroccan authorities ordered a ship owned by Dutch abortion group “women on the waves” to leave its territorial waters after the vessel attempted to enter the port of Smir on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.
According to Dutch radio, the group Women on Waves had announced that the ship would dock in Smir on Oct.4, but Moroccan warships blocked its entrance.
The organization later said it had secretly sent a small yacht to Smir several days earlier in anticipation of a possible blockade by Moroccan officials of its larger vessel.
The goal of the organization – founded by Rebecca Gomperts – is to dock in countries where abortion is illegal and bring women out to international waters to provide abortion services. According to reports however few actual abortions are carried out on the ship; instead, it is mainly a method of generating publicity for local abortion campaigners. The group claims to have “created enormous public interest in its efforts and has completed successful campaigns in Ireland (2001), Poland (2003,) and Portugal (2004), and Spain (2008).”
The abortion ship offers to use the abortion drug RU-486, a combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol, for women with early term pregnancies. Women on Waves claims that according to international law, if the boat is outside a 12-mile radius from shore, Dutch law applies to the boat, allowing “medical” or chemical abortions to be carried out on board.
Gomperts was taken away by police for her own protection after protesters carrying graphic abortion photos called her a “terrorist” and an “assassin.”