Abortions at Sea for Women from Ireland

Article excerpt

A floating clinic sets sail for Dublin next week to ferry women seeking to terminate pregnancies to international waters, beyond the reach of Irish law that forbids abortions.

Run by a Dutch volunteer organisation on board the Sea Change, the clinic will operate in accordance with standards accepted in the Netherlands, offering free abortions to Irish women who cannot afford to travel to England.

The idea is to 'provide safe abortions to women where it is illegal, and to raise awareness about repressive policies,' said Joke van Kampen, spokeswoman for Women on Waves.

'Women can be haunted for years after having secret or back street abortions.'

The privately-funded ship is scheduled to leave the Netherlands on Monday and

reach Dublin by the end of the week, van Kampen said. The crew plans to spend up to two weeks off the Irish coast, stopping in several ports.

It has been invited by organisations in Brazil, the Philippines, and several other countries with restrictive abortion policies.

'I think it is a huge medical scandal that there are still women dying, indeed dying in the tens of thousands annually, from illegal abortions,' said Rachel Gomperts, the doctor who will perform the procedure.

'Of the 53 million abortions done annually worldwide, 20 million are illegal and unsafe, with the result that at least 70,000 women die each year unnecessarily,' Gomperts said . …