This Abortion Boat Sounds Fishy

How did a man with no experience in abortion care launch a service for offshore procedures, just weeks after the fall of Roe v. Wade?

By Susan Rinkunas
Aug 17, 2022

In the two dystopian months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights supporters have been desperate for any positive news on the abortion front. Stories are pouring out by the day of pregnant people forced into unimaginable situations. So when a mysterious abortion boat appeared out of nowhere off the coast of Texas in July, claiming to have already provided dozens of abortions in federal waters, a lot of people needed it to be a hero.

That boat, run by a for-profit company called Abort Offshore, claimed it could offer abortions up to 20 weeks in the Gulf of Mexico, immune to state laws. And it started doing so, apparently, at a rapid clip: On July 23, Abort Offshore announced that it had done 34 abortions as a test. By August 3, it claimed to have provided more than 100 procedures. And just 10 days later, the company tweeted that it had performed nearly 200 legal abortions for women from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.


USA – Meet the Doctors Taking to the High Seas to Perform Abortions

They might be in murky legal water.

Maddie Bender
Updated Jul. 24, 2022

When states cracked down on gambling in the 20th century, Americans took their money offshore to casino boats in the Mississippi River and along the Pacific Coast. They reasoned that once a vessel was more than 12 nautical miles offshore, it would be outside of U.S. territorial waters—and therefore wouldn’t have to abide by gambling restrictions.

Inspired by these boats, one doctor is betting on these same legal loopholes to set up a floating health clinic in the Gulf of Mexico and offer comprehensive reproductive care, including surgical abortions. It’s not a completely new idea, and it’s not uncontroversial, either: Some wonder whether the idea is more of a performative gimmick than a feasible solution to reproductive care, and there are a slew of legal issues to take into account, too. But all agree that it is the kind of workaround that will proliferate in a post-Roe America.


If You Can’t Get an Abortion on Land, Can You Get One on a Boat?

A doctor explains her long-brewing plan to set up a floating clinic in the Gulf of Mexico.

JULY 14, 2022

In the weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reproductive health clinics in states with abortion bans have been forced to curtail their services. This has been particularly acute in the South, where there will soon be no legal abortion services in a wide swath of the country.

Some patients are now forced to travel hundreds of miles for care. Someday soon, they may not have to. To serve patients on the Gulf Coast who may be closer to the water than an abortion clinic, Amy Autry, an OB-GYN and professor at the University of California San Francisco, is spearheading a project that would provide abortion services on a boat in federal waters a few miles off the coastline. The nonprofit is called PRROWESS, an acronym that stands for Protecting Reproductive Rights Of Women Endangered by State Statutes.


Abortion ship sailed outside Mexican territorial waters for second time.

Abortion ship sailed outside Mexican territorial waters for second time.

April 23, 2017

For immediate release April 22, 2017: Women on Waves sailed out again with several women to international waters today from Zihuatanejo, Mexico. There was no interference from the authorities. The ship did not need any special permission for coastal sailing.

The last 2 days 70 women from all over Mexico called the safe abortion hotline. We received calls from Quintana Roo to Oaxaca with of women needing abortions because of a variety of reasons, including failure on their contraceptives, out the fact that they had been raped and are too afraid to reach out for legal local health services (abortion is legal in cases sexual violence in all states).

Continued at Source: Women on Waves:

Dutch ‘abortion boat’ arrives off the coast of Mexico

Dutch 'abortion boat' arrives off the coast of Mexico
April 21, 2017

Women on Waves says it is offering free, legal, medical abortions till nine weeks of pregnancy in international waters.

Women on Waves has visited waters off Guatemala, Ireland, Morocco, Poland, Portugal and Spain [File: Reuters]

A Dutch sailing boat offering abortions has arrived in international waters off Mexico's west coast, according to the organisation which operates it.

The vessel, which operates often in defiance of some countries' laws, took up position on Friday off Guerrero state on Mexico's southern Pacific coast.

Women on Waves, a non-profit group, said in an online statement that it was offering "free legal medical abortions till nine weeks of pregnancy" to women who needed them. It said its ship "has all required permits" and would receive women until Sunday.

Continued at link: Al Jazeera:

Guatemala authorities expel Dutch ‘abortion ship’

Guatemala authorities expel Dutch ‘abortion ship’

Feb 27, 2017

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala has expelled a Dutch “abortion ship” carrying activists who had vowed to help women circumvent the country’s long-standing prohibition against terminating pregnancies, the army said Sunday.

Activists from the group Women on Waves had been guarded aboard their moored sailboat by a navy vessel, Saul Tobar, commander of Puerto Quetzal on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, told reporters.

“Notified of its expulsion from the country’s territorial waters for having failed to comply with immigration regulations” late Saturday, the crew requested permission to set sail, he said. The activists saw no patients.

Continued at source: Japan Times:

Guatemalan immigration office expels Women on Waves abortion ship

Guatemalan immigration office expels Women on Waves abortion ship
The Dutch boat offers free abortion services in countries where terminating pregnancies is banned.

By Ananya Roy
February 25, 2017

Guatemalan authorities on Friday (24 February) expelled a Dutch boat run by Women on Waves, a non-profit organisation (NGO) that provides free abortion services to women living in countries where the procedure is banned.

The boat was detained on Thursday, a day after it landed at a private pier in the Port of San Jose at Marina Pez Vela, about 120km south of the capital Guatemala City.
Continued at source: IB Times:

Guatemala: The Last Resort Women Are Turning to Because of Illegal Abortion

The Last Resort Women Are Turning to Because of Illegal Abortion
February 24th 2017
By: Charles Davis

A pregnant woman in Guatemala generally has one legal option: give birth. In Guatemala abortion, as in much of Latin America, is illegal except when the authorities determine it necessary to save the mother’s life. In practice that means only the rich, or those who can afford a flight to Miami, can exercise their right to choose in a manner that is safe.

Those who are poor — nearly half the country lives on $1.50 a day — are forced to exercise their reproductive rights in a rather more dangerous way: in unlicensed clinics that, according to the Guttmacher Institute, send a third of the estimated 65,000 people who use them each year to the hospital with complications.

Some women with a boat want to help change that.

Continued at source: ATTN:

Guatemala blocks entry to Dutch ship providing abortions

Guatemala blocks entry to Dutch ship providing abortions
Fri Feb 24, 2017

Guatemala's army detained a boat carrying a supply of abortion pills on Thursday and prevented it from picking up women seeking to end their pregnancies, saying the move was prohibited by the country's constitution.

The boat, operated by Dutch nonprofit Women on Waves, was in military custody with some of its seven crew members still aboard, after landing at a private pier at the Port of San Jose, 75 miles (120 km) south of the capital, said Leticia Zenevich, a spokeswoman for the group.

Continued at source: Reuters:

Guatemalan army declare they will denounce the abortion ship without legal grounds

Guatemalan army declare they will denounce the abortion ship without legal grounds
Feb 23, 2017
Women on Waves

The abortion ship has all required permits to enter, stay and leave Guatemala and has arrived safely yesterday at harbour Marina Pez Vela. Access to the boat has been shut down during the press conference. As the activists started the press conference, they were expelled from the venue by the administration of Marina Pez Vela without further explanations. Since the actions started this morning, a series of violations have been perpetrated against the boat campaign. The abortion ship is now detained. These actions not only have no legal grounds but also constitute a serious breach of the International Convention of the Sea, freedom of expression (Article 18 of the International Declaration of Human Rights), freedom of movement and Guatemalan citizens' right to movement. The Guatemalan army has declared they will denounce the abortion ship, which has no legal grounds.

Despite the fact that the abortion ship has followed all regulations, the ship was detained and the Guatemalan army has promised to denounce the boat and are now obstructing a lawful protest against the State's restrictions on the Guatemalan women's right to safe abortion.

According to the International Convention of Sea a ship can only be detained on the bases of civil proceedings and environmental pollution and not for any activities that concern the transport of people on board the ship. So there are no legal grounds on which the abortion ship can be detained or arrested (1).

The ship campaign, a joint action brought together by Women on Waves and Guatemalan organisations, aims to highlight the violation of human rights caused by the existing abortion laws in Guatemala. All abortions that can be performed onboard are carried on in international waters, where the boat is under European law and outside the jurisdiction of Guatemala.

Continued at source: Women on Waves: