Morocco navy escorts abortion vessel out of port, group says
The Women on Waves ship Langenort took the organization's campaign to Poland in 2003.
October 4th, 2012
08:30 PM ET

Morocco navy escorts abortion vessel out of port, group says

[Update 10:30 p.m. ET] A ship filled with activists who say they are there to help women receive abortions was escorted out of the Moroccan port of Smir after the government initially blocked the harbor and prevented residents from accessing the vessel.

Abortion is illegal in Morocco, and the country's Health Ministry said in a statement that it had not authorized the vessel's visit or any procedures by nonresident doctors.

The "abortion ship" is run by Women on Waves, which was founded in 1999 by a Dutch doctor to provide abortions to women in countries where the practice is illegal.

The Women on Waves ship takes women into international waters to perform the abortions, which are legal under Dutch law, until 6.5 weeks into the pregnancy.

But authorities in the predominantly Muslim country seemed to effectively block the activists efforts on Thursday.

"The ship was searched, and the captains were informed that they had to leave the harbor," Women on Waves said in a statement. "When asked the reason why, they were informed that although no laws were broken, the ship had to leave Smir."

The ship was then "escorted from the harbor by the navy," though the crew plans to "stay near Morocco" and "strategize their next move."

"I will not be practicing as a gynecologist in Morocco," said Gunilla Kleiverda, a Women on Waves gynecologist aboard the vessel.  "We are not going to perform any abortions within Morocco. We are sailing out with women to international waters where in the international sea the Dutch law applies," she said.

A female member of the group told CNN that she and a number of other demonstrators had been in front of the marina in Smir. She said there was a big, aggressive protest taking place and police were present.

She said police said she was "not authorized" to be there.

"I am not going to be intimidated by them," she told CNN before the phone line dropped.

Women on Waves also advocates the use of a drug called misoprostol, which it says is available legally in Morocco, to perform abortions up to 12 weeks after conception. The group says it is establishing a phone hotline in Morocco for women to get information on how to perform the abortions at home.

Kleiverda said Moroccan women need access to safe abortions. About 90 women die from illegal abortions in the country every year, she said.

The ship has previously taken the campaign to Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain, but this is its first attempt to offer abortions for women in an Islamic country.

Women on Waves said on its website that it is looking into alternatives to get the ship into port in Morocco after the Smir harbor was blocked.

CNN's Stephanie Halasz, Jo Shelley and journalist Aida Alami contributed to this report.

[Original post 10:48 a.m. ET] The government of Morocco has closed the port of Smir and is blocking the harbor with warships to prevent the entry of a Dutch "abortion ship" to the Islamic country, the organization running the ship said Thursday.

Abortion is illegal in Morocco, and the country's Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it had not authorized the vessel's visit or any procedures by nonresident doctors.

The abortion ship is run by Women on Waves, which was founded in 1999 by a Dutch doctor to provide abortions to women in countries where the practice is illegal.

Women on Waves doctor Marlies Schellekens told CNN that she and about 10 other members of her group and Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms, the Moroccan activist group that invited the abortion ship to Morocco, are trying to make their way to the harbor in Smir.

The main entrance has been blocked by police; a female Moroccan lawyer representing the group is trying to negotiate with officers to let the group enter, Schellekens said. Dutch lawmaker Liesbeth van Tongeren is also with the group, she said.

The abortion ship has not yet tried to enter the port, she said.

The Women on Waves ship takes women into international waters to perform the abortions, which are legal under Dutch law, until 6.5 weeks into the pregnancy.

Gunilla Kleiverda, a Women on Waves gynecologist aboard the vessel, stressed that point in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

“I will not be practicing as a gynecologist in Morocco," Kleiverda said.

“We are not going to perform any abortions within Morocco. We are sailing out with women to international waters where in the international sea the Dutch law applies," she said.

Women on Waves also advocates the use of a drug called misoprostol, which it says is available legally in Morocco, to perform abortions up to 12 weeks after conception. The group says it is establishing a phone hotline in Morocco for women to get information on how to perform the abortions at home.

Kleiverda said Moroccan women need access to safe abortions. About 90 women die from illegal abortions in the country every year, she said.

The ship has previously taken the campaign to Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain, but this is its first attempt to offer abortions in an Islamic country.

Women on Waves said on its website that it is looking into alternatives to get the ship into port in Morocco after the Smir harbor was blocked.

CNN's Stephanie Halasz, Jo Shelley and journalist Aida Alami contributed to this report.

Post by:
Filed under: Abortion • Morocco • Netherlands
soundoff (555 Responses)
  1. Michele Gibson

    I volunteer in a pro-life pregnancy center. It amazes me how many young women who say they did not want to get pregnant also said she was not using birth control. Women should take responsibility for not getting pregnant before she and her partner create a new life. If you do get pregnant, stop being selfish and give 9 months of your life to create a family through adoption. This "ship" is yet another abomination to the many that we are experiencing in our world and I would not to be them when they stand before Holy God to give an account of their lives.

    October 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The Bible NEVER mentions abortion. .

      October 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdonln

      Well, it is covered under 'Thou shalt not KILL'. Who would have thought anyone would have to be told not to kill their own unborn children? Really, the ability to create life, bring a life into the world, life itself is such a miracle, it's amazing anyone would see it as an inconvenience and want to destroy it.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      mdonln,

      Nope. The word "abortion" is not in the Bible.

      "Thou shalt not kill" was in the Bible along with a hypocritical LONG list of commands to kill people.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • R. Royal

      They are concerned that 90 women a year die from illegal abortions. Are they concerned about the millions of children who die during the abortions?

      October 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Midnight Toker

      Well hopefully the contraceptives are available. I work in the insurance industry and up until Obamacare, some companies would not fund it or make it available. I would agree with you if birth control was 100 percent available to who ever needed it. Sadly it is not, thus ships like that are a constant reminder that in other countries, women are bound to a religious intolerence.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • domenow

      Contraceptives ARE available to everyone, the same way underwear is available to everyone. You have to pay for it, though. No one ever said you had the right to have everyone else pay for your underwear.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bluemoon

      Underwear don't prevent overpopulation, and all the baggage that comes along with it. You're going to have to trust me on this, but society is better off when basic medications for family planning are free ( you do hate welfare, yes?).

      October 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • KG

      It amazes me that in the nearly 40 years since Roe v. Wade our society has gone from one that cherished families to one that thinks nothing of murdering children before they are born. The fact that Nazi doctors perfected the technique on Jewish women should cause us to pause and look at our lack of morality

      October 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      @KG The fact that you believe that garbage should cause you to pause and reflect on your own stupidity. The Nazis had nothing in particular to do with "perfecting" abortion, which has been commonplace in every society for thousands of years.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mohamed

      Thank you Michele.....None of the 3 religions support the abortioni FYI here are 3 verses from the Quran that talk about abortion:

      ========================================
      "And do not kill your children.... surely to kill them is a great wrong." (Quran 17:31)
      ======================================…
      "...And do not slay your children..." (Quran 6:151)
      ======================================…
      "(The day) When the female (infant) buried alive is asked – for what crime was she killed?.... Then every person will know what he has brought (of good and evil). ” (Quran 81:8-14)
      ======================================…
      “When any of them is given the good tidings of a girl, his face is darkened and he chokes inwardly. With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! what an evil (choice) they decide on?" (Quran 16:58-59)

      October 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdonln

      Observer et al.,

      Try to follow along – my point is it doesn't matter whether or not the word 'abortion' (or even the concept) is found in the Bible. One of the Ten Commandments says 'thou shalt not kill'. What more do you need?

      I know you and others may not think of abortion as killing but I know that's just a little trick people use to keep from acknowledging what they're really doing – killing. Even if you truly do not believe life starts at the moment of conception you have to admit at some point that little 'clump of cells' will evolve and reach the point that even you (all the ‘it's not life’ people) can start to see it as human life. If that were not the case, there would be no need to get rid of that little ‘clump of cells’. It’s not as if this is some foreign object invader that will kill you if left alone – like a cancer. It’s a baby!

      And yes, I am intentionally calling it a BABY even during the gestational stage. Get over it! When I pull out my big bowl and gather the ingredients to make a cake, even before I get started if someone asks what I’m doing I say I’m making a CAKE (not batter). It’s the final result that matters. It may not fit the description of an actual cake until it’s fully baked but that’s the end point of my actions. If at some point before I’m done I stop, people will ask what happened, where is the CAKE because everyone knows what the end point is supposed to be?

      It’s the same with a pregnancy – a human baby is in development. If you kill it off before it can be born, regardless of what you choose to call it, the fact that it’s a baby that was destroyed does not change!

      October 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Happy landings on a chocolate bar

    Try the harbor where bon bons play, on the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

    October 4, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • vintage_chica82

      Lol! Oh wow, a Shirley Temple reference.

      October 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. skarphace

    There are now over 7 bilion people on this planet. It will not be long before there is no way every human can be fed, much less housed and cared for.

    In the future the abortion debate will seem ludicrous because all countries will have to take the path of China and limit pregnancies in order to curb widespread famine, disease, polution, etc.

    The irony is that the evangelist movement to not only make all abortions illegal but also make birth control illegal will only hasten this day.

    October 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • zamedine

      Actually, in most industrialised countries birthrates are dropping dramatically, in many places to below replacement level. What will really change the 'population crisis' is not invasive 'baby quotas' but women marrying older, and having education and careers that tend to preclude extremely large families. Even in predominately Christian or Islamic countries this trend is evident.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • aebe

      Education and a higher standard of living naturally reduces the birth rate.Would it not be better to give permanent help to folks,raise them up,instead of they murdering their children ?
      Here in America a woman,Margaret Sanger,thought up a great way to get rid of the undesirables in her world.Blacks,browns,yellows,the elderly,infirm,developmentally disabled,literally anyone she took a dislike to.Hitler took that idea and ran with it,you know what came of that.And yet,progressives here in America take joy in knowing that more than a million babies a year are murdered.
      Mostly by women too lazy to use any birth control.Stuff is cheap,you do not even need taxpayers to buy it for you,it is so cheap.
      Hillary Clinton has gone around the world,speaking out for women's rights,and education takes a back seat to abortion.Education improves the lives of every person involved.You can raise up women,hell,you could lift up nations.Instead,aw,shucks,just kill the little boogers.

      Validate your 2nd Amendment Rights.Carry.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerad

      Most evangelicals are not against birth control. Maybe they are against passing it out to children at school but not against the concept itself. It's more Catholics who are against contraception.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Docs Wife

      We ARE long over due for a world wide plague or other "herd-thinning" event...

      October 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • homer10

      zamedine, your statement is correct for the USA, and other developed countrys, but in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, they are still going full speed ahead. Soon we will have a preview of the hell created when you have 10 Billion people on this tiny Earth.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another take

      I have an idea. In order to reduce the population levels, lets instill euthanasia as the law of the land........Why don't you volunteer to go first, while those of us who value life try to protect the unborn children of the world.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Shangheyed

      CNN calls it an "abortion" ship... why not calling it women's freedom ship... Clearly CNN is part of the problem

      October 5, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. careful observer

    Perhaps these women should have been aborted by their moms. Or is that offensive? Yes, I'm offended by there whole cause.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Here's a quarter - call someone who cares.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • careful observer

      Well, I know you certainly do care since you responded to my message. Oh but that's logic.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark C

      Uh no, you sad little half-wit, it's what passes for logic to an imbecile such as yourself. I do not care that you are offended. That in no way prevents me from responding to your half-wit post.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • homer10

      Why? Maybe you mama should have had an abortion.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsjunkie

      Great quote! Love it!

      October 5, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Shangheyed

      How could anyone take offense to giving a women freedom to control her own body. Slavery ended decades ago.

      Smartest man ever said it best...

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/04/einstein-letter-set-for-auction-shows-scientist-challenging-idea-of-god-being-chosen/?hpt=hp_c2

      October 5, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Don't Judge Lest you Be Judged

      You obviously hate women and hate the idea of them controlling their own bodies. You don't really give a cr@p about these unborn babies. If you're a woman, have some compassion for other women and don't judge them for having to make a tough choice. If you're a man, until you're able to carry a child to term for nine months, it's really none of your d@mn business what a woman chooses to do.

      October 5, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim34

    I love to get women pregnant by one night stands. I go to bars, pick up women and poke holes on the condom. The women don't even know my name.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • PP

      Dude, I did the exact thing to you when I did you up the ass. OMG! How ironic!

      October 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. alpha

    All the people who've decided to play judge and jury with women's bodies, what steps are you taking to help the children already born into poverty and misery? From the people I personally know, the people against a woman's right to choose lose interest after birth. Right to life party but not right to a quality of life.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. juan gonzalez

    The abortion bark's mission and its crew could have been aborted. God's mercy has saved them.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. melanieleighwright

    Wow... all of us find that our only purpose in life is to write a quirky comment. We've all been conditioned to biteback each other and think that we are only "relevant" when we can make a quirky comment, otherwise we are not "with the times." What a pathetic life all of you lead.

    I'll go back to what I aim for in life: read news for about 10 minutes, then go study for a certification, or go work out, or hang out with friends, or watch a movie, or spend a night with the family, or start a project, or read a book, or find a way to help a neighbor or someone less fortunate, in essence, SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE. WAKE UP AMERICA AND STOP BEING ZOMBIES.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • nobodyknowsthetroubleiveseen

      OMG U R soooo right... when I'm done here I'm going to get a back massage, drink some champagne and call up Heff and see if the cave is open . When thats over I'm going to Barcelona and watch some soccer.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Medicated

    Apparently not many, know the true history of abortion in this country. Prior to sometime in the 19th century (I'm not exact about the time), there were NO laws regarding abortion whatsoever. Women either used ancient n newer herb recipes to abort on their own, with their midwives, or a doctor would help them w a combination of chemicals or even surgery. Typically in the culture of that day, husbands n "boyfriends" weren't involved n did not want to be.

    Then the Catholic church n the Vatican lobbied the US government to make abortion illegal by making political n economic threats - we were more beholden to Vatican back then. (but please do look this up bc although I know the story bc I had to write a report on it for a job I had to practice giving historical presentations, I don't remember the dates)

    THEN, after the medical profession essentially took the majority of women's health work away from midwives, it became difficult n for most impossible to get abortions without interference from husbands, boyfriends n fathers - n the growing medical field also did not keep knowledge of the old recipes. So even when docs wanted to help a woman get an abortion, they either didn't know how or were forbidden by husbands, who had more control over women's lives at the time. This led to the epidemic of back alley abortions n huge number of women dying and abortion becoming dangerous unless a person had money to go to another country w skilled physicians.

    Because these deaths n injuries were investigated finally n brought to light over years or testifying, the government passed Roe v Wade, making abortion legal - legal again, essentially.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Logan

      Great idea; lets go back to the past, slavery was legal, beating your wife was legal too. You idiot, contraception is easier and cheaper than an abortion.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Medicated

    Oh, and I investigated this researching actual books and internet sources; but as this was a professional paper, Wikipedia was not allowed as an acceptable source.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. mmi16

    I guess the Muslims need a cadre of unwanted 'mistake' children for the Jihadist suicide bombers.

    October 5, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. nobodyknowsthetroubleiveseen

    Where's some Somali pirates when you need them... that would be ironic, the quest was aborted to being pirated.

    October 5, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. BillyJoeJimBob

    SINK IT!!!! Escort them out to see and sink the ship. Consider it justice served for a ship full of murderers! This is the 21st century ladies, if you don't want to have kids you don't have to but you need to stick to prevention methods not correction methods 🙂

    October 5, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. jack johnson

    If the republicans have their way we will have loads of ships in our harbors (listing it as crusies). They already say they want to repeal Row vs. Wade!

    October 5, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    blah blah blah islam.... blah blah blah...infidels!... blah blah blah.... holy war! ...blah blah blah !! FOR ALAH I MUST KILL !! blah blah blah... INFIDELS!!!! 😉

    October 5, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14