Dutch 'Abortion Boat' Arrives In Mexico: What Is This And Is It Legal?
A Dutch "abortion boat" docked on the coast of Guerrero, Mexico over the weekend. The organization Women on Waves, which has been in operation since 1999, took their international voyage to assist women who needed to terminate their pregnancy at no cost.
Upon the abortion boat's arrival, pro-choice members of Women on Waves took in two pregnant Mexican aboard their boat. They gave the women abortion pills and watched over them until they were cleared to return to shore, as per Deutsche Welle.
Women on Waves provides assistance to pregnant women in need of abortion under nine weeks only. The organization does not perform abortion surgeries on board. Members say they follow guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) on pregnancy termination.
Inside the group's vessel is a mobile clinic where a gynecologist and a counselor assist the women. The organization insists they have legal permission to hand out abortion pills in this part of Mexico when authorities cleared the abortion boat for its temporary stay off shore in Guerrero.
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Mexico legalized abortion in 2007 and yet it's still a controversial issue as laws vary in every state. In most cases, pregnancy as a result of a rape, sexual violence or incest, seemed the legally accepted conditions. Guerrero has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
"Access to abortion in cases of rape is really quite limited," Regina Tames of Mexico's women rights group Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE) said, as per Thomas Reuters Foundation News. GIRE along with other pro-choice and women's group invited Women on Waves to come to Mexico, Mexico News Daily noted.
"We've documented that authorities are still putting up obstacles," Tames said. "We can't have women that want to terminate their pregnancy treated the same way, and prosecuted in the same manner, as criminals."
Meanwhile, prior to Mexico, Women on Waves also sailed to Guatemala to offer free abortion in February. The country's navy, however, detained their ship and kicked out the group before they could offer their services, Life News reported.