By docking their boat at harbours around the world, Dutch NGO Women on Waves allows women to skirt abortion laws by operating in international waters. On Friday the group arrived in Spain, to a particularly cold reception.
At about half past five on Friday afternoon, "Aurora" sailed into the port of Valencia. The Dutch NGO, which has been offering abortions to women on its "floating clinic" for several years, was met by about a hundred pro-life activists shouted "fascists!" and "murderers!", while a small motor boat tried to stop the vessel from mooring. Also on the quay: pro-abortion activists, and between them, a police barrier, and a group of surging journalists.
While the turbulent arrival took over the country's weekend headlines, women were welcomed aboard the controversial vessel, where Dutch laws reign. Abortion was legalised in 1985 in Spain, but only in the case of rape, malformation of foetus, or a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman. "Aurora" was planning to set sail yesterday. But to where? Rebecca Gomperts, the founder of the NGO, is yet to decide. Women on Waves has already graced the shores of Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Ecuador.
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