An ‘Abortion Boat’, From The Netherlands, Is In International Waters Off The Coast Of Mexico


In collaboration with national and local Mexican organizations, the Women on Waves ship arrived in Mexico. The campaign started today and the boat has already sailed out with women to international waters where women can get free legal medical abortions till 9 weeks of pregnancy.

On board the Dutch boat, women are given abortion pills and remain under observation for a few hours before returning to shore on small vessels. The female crew does not perform surgical abortions.

Abortion ship in Mexico

Abortion is legal throughout Mexico in cases of sexual violence. Furthermore, in each state there are different legal grounds for abortion, yet effective access is not ensured even in cases where abortion is legal. For that, in many other situations, Mexican women across the country need to bear the costs and logistics of traveling to Mexico City, where abortion has been legal on demand since 10 years. Those who cannot afford the travel  have to seek illegal abortion services and risk prosecution and sometimes even imprisonment.

The right to safe abortion goes beyond ideologies and politics itself, as it is an urgent medical need and a fundamental human right that needs to be fully ensured in all the Mexican States. The Women on Waves ship is a human rights campaign to highlight the need for safe abortions throughout Mexico and the international solidarity of women across the globe.

In 2009, one million abortions took place in Mexico. In Mexico city, where abortion is legal on demand, the procedure is safe and effective, following the World Health Organization protocols, resulting in a low complication rate of 0.68%. Nationally, where abortion is legally restricted, the complication rate increases to 36% (Guttmacher Institute, 2008). Moreover, 9.2% of maternal deaths are the consequence of unsafe abortions (Freyermuth, Numeralia 2014, 2016). The lack of access and the criminalization of abortion endangers women’s right to health, to the advancement of science and to a a life with dignity.

The ship has all required permits to sail out and will be receiving women until Sunday, April, 23rd. The services on board the ship are provided according to high European medical standards.

Women who need help can call 755 980 0548

To improve woman’s health status and to guarantee women’s right to health, we urge:

  • The Mexican states where abortion is legally restricted to stop the legal prosecution and imprisonment of women who seek public healthcare facilities after undergoing miscarriages or abortions;
  • All Mexican states to comply with federal law and regulations regarding effective, adequate and unhindered access to abortion to victims of sexual violence, especially regarding NOM 046 and The General Law of Victims;
  • The states to press for changes in federal and state criminal code provisions on abortion to make them comply both with the Mexican constitution and the international human rights obligations ratified by the Mexican State, so that abortion on demand is no longer criminalized, at least during the first weeks of pregnancy;
  • The National Assembly to review the federal criminal code to update it accordingly to the provisions of the Mexican Constitution and the Mexican international human rights obligations and legalise abortion and to guarantee that the legislation provides for free and safe abortions on demand in all Mexican states.
  • The Ministry of Public Health to ensure that NOM 046 is fully complied to across Mexico, and that all women and girls have access to safe and effective abortions; to guarantee that post-abortion care is fully available for all abortion-related complications and that all medical and health staff abide by the principles of medical confidentiality and comply with the patients’ right to privacy;

As it is important to take action to prevent unintended pregnancies, we also call upon:

  • The Ministry of Public Health to ensure access to a broad range of contraceptives so they are adequate to each woman’s specific needs.
  • The Ministry of Education to ensure that all students have access to evidence-based sexual education in schools, in all school levels, to guarantee the full exercise of all sexual rights, strengthening the reproductive autonomy of each person.


Note: This article was republished for informational purposes only, does not take a position on abortion rights.

[Source: Women On Waves -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: inserted by (credits embedded)]



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