National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Women on Waves Ship Escorted From Moroccan Harbor

Women on Waves Ship Escorted From Moroccan Harbor

October 5, 2012 — The Moroccan Navy on Thursday escorted a ship operated by a Dutch abortion-rights group out of a port in Smir, CNN's "This Just In" reports (Halasz et al., "This Just In," CNN, 10/4).

The group, Women on Waves, travels the world by ship to bring safe abortion access to women in countries where the procedure is illegal and raise awareness of medication abortion. Women can board the group's boat and receive medication abortion drugs legally in international waters (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/2).

The Dutch Health Ministry last week said that Dutch law applies in international waters in this case because the ship is flying a Dutch flag (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 9/27).

In a statement on Thursday, Women on Waves said that Moroccan authorities searched the ship and told the crew that the ship must leave the harbor. "When asked the reason why, they were informed that although no laws were broken, the ship had to leave Smir," the statement said.

Abortion is illegal in Morocco, and about 90 women die from illegal procedures in the country annually, according to Gunilla Kleiverda, a gynecologist on the ship.

The trip is the group's first attempt to provide its services to women in an Islamic country ("This Just In," CNN, 10/4).