Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Women on Waves
Women on Waves is a non-profit, pro-choice organization created in 1999 by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts. The goal of the organization is to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about what they consider to be restrictive laws regarding abortion, as well as to provide safe, non-surgical abortions for women who live in countries where that is illegal. Other services offered by WoW include contraception and reproductive counseling. Services are provided on a specially constructed and commissioned ship that contains a mobile clinic. When WoW visits a country, women are encouraged to make appointments, and are taken on board the ship. The ship then sails out to international waters (where Dutch laws are in effect on board the ship) to perform the abortions.
Women on Waves sailed to Ireland in 2001 and Poland in 2003. (According to Gomperts, before they went to Poland, 44% of the women were pro-abortion. Once they left, this number had grown to 56%) In 2004, their attempt to enter Portuguese waters was blocked when the government refused to allow them entry, and physically blocked their ship with a Portuguese warship.
Rebecca Gomperts was a Greenpeace militant and became a feminist while working on the now-sunken Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior. She created a portable gynaecology unit called "A-portable" that can be installed on rented ships.
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