'Abortion boat' extends stay

A Dutch boat dubbed an “abortion clinic" will stay at a port in Poland for another week despite protests from anti-abortion and religious groups, the crew said.

    Friday’s decision will most likely further outrage protestors who had threw eggs and red paint at the ship when it sailed into the Baltic fishing port of Wladyslawowo.

    The Langenort, operated by Dutch-based Women on Waves, offers abortions in international waters to women in countries where the procedure is more restricted than in the Netherlands.

    In the week that it has been in Poland, it has taken 11 women on what the crew calls a “sexual workshop” cruise into international waters.

    The groups said more trips into international waters are planned.

    “We will most likely stay in Wladyslawowo for another week or so because there are so many volunteers who want to sail out with us for our sexual workshops,” said Rebecca Gomperts, head of Women on Waves.

    She declined to say whether any of the women who had taken part in Thursday’s cruise had undergone an abortion or taken an abortion pill, which is banned in Poland.

    The organisation has outraged the nationalist League of Polish Families party (LPR). They have threatened to take legal action against the group.

    "This is a scandal and against Polish law. We have taken pictures of the 11 women and will use them in court against these individuals," LPR chief Roman Giertych said.

    Protestors threw eggs and
    red paint at the Dutch boat

    Throughout Europe, Ireland is the only other country to have equally strict regulations on pregnancy terminations.

    But some feminist groups and left-wing politicians are demanding the liberalisation of Poland’s tough anti-abortion law.

    The homeland of Pope John Paul, Poland allows abortion only if the pregnancy is a threat to a women’s health, if the foetus is damaged or after rape.

    Doctors who perform abortions face up to three years in prison for illegal abortions.

    Some left-wing politicians and feminist groups have been demanding the liberalisation of the laws.

    An opinion poll published on Friday found that 44% of Poles thought that the abortion law should be relaxed or abolished, while 38% wanted it left unchanged or made even stricter.


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