Morocco: Dutch 'Abortion Boat' Finally Docks in Moroccan Harbour

The Dutch 'abortion boat' has finally docked in the Moroccan harbour of Smir after having been prevented to do so by Moroccan authorities for several hours, say organisers Women on Waves.

On Thursday afternoon, the Dutch Health Ministry announced that the staff on board the boat could not carry out abortions in international waters because they had failed to apply for a permit. The ministry added that it had repeatedly informed Women on Waves that they did not have authorisation to terminate pregnancies in international waters off the coast of Morocco.

According to the ministry, Women on Waves must apply for a permit each time it sails. The Dutch Health Care Inspectorate, said the ministry, needs to check the quality and safety of the care and follow-up care. It reiterated that Dutch law applies in international waters because the boat is flying a Dutch flag.

The boat is sailing to Morocco at the invitation of the Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms (MALI), which is campaigning for the legalisation of abortion in the North African country.

On Wednesday, the health ministry announced that the ship was not authorised to operate in Morocco and called on the relevant authorities to prevent the visit from taking place. However, Kleiverga insisted that the boat would not counsel or treat women in Morocco. "We're only going to provide treatment to women in international waters... Of course we (will) adhere to Moroccan law, and we're not going to offer abortions in Morocco," she added.

This is the first attempt Women on Waves has made to visit an Islamic country. In the past 11 years, its ship sailed to Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 Radio Netherlands Worldwide. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.