DUTCH MINISTER BANS ABORTION SHAME SHIP; Crew Risks Prison after Operations Outlawed

Article excerpt

Byline: NIALL MOONAN

THE Dutch abortion boat bound for Ireland was yesterday outlawed by its own government.

Holland's Justice Minister Benk Korthals told his parliament the vessel wasn't licensed to carry out terminations.

Minister Korthals issued a stern warning to the Women on Waves team who dock in Dublin tomorrow.

He said: "They will face the full rigours of the law if they don't comply."

Crew members risk over four years in prison and a pounds 6,000 fine if abortions are carried out on the 35-metre Aurora.

And as the ship nears Ireland, it has emerged that the former fishing vessel was NOT examined by the inspector for public health in Holland.

It could only be issued with an abortion permit after being visited and tested by the inspector.

The Dutch government, however, can't act until the boat returns home.

Another source said: "The crew applied for the permit but left before the inspectorate could see facilities."

One crew member of the Women on Waves project claimed that they were very "surprised and disappointed" by the announcement. Meanwhile, Bishop Michael Cox - who ordained controversial singer Sinead O'Connor - has slammed the mission, vowing that he will fight the ship out at sea if necessary.

He said: "This is simply a murderous mission and if they are coming to this country, I will be there to stop them."

He has been building his own vessel in Fenit Harbour, Co Kerry, for the past two years and will sail to meet the ship as it enters Irish waters. …