Who Are We?


Women on Waves aims to prevent unsafe abortions and empower women to exercise their human rights to physical and mental autonomy. We trust that women can do a medical abortion themselves and make sure that women have access to medical abortion and information through innovative strategies. But ultimately it is about giving women the tools to resist repressive cultures and laws. Not every woman has the possibility to be a public activist but there are things we can all do ourselves.

Women on Waves was founded in 1999 by Rebecca Gomperts. After completing her training as an abortion doctor, Rebecca Gomperts worked as a physician on board Greenpeace's ship, the Rainbow Warrior II. In South America she met many women who greatly suffer both physically and psychologically due to unwanted pregnancies and lack of access to safe, legal abortion. Their stories were all heart wrenching. There were women who were raped. There were women who had no means of support. And there were women who were ostracized from their communities. These women and their stories are the inspiration for Women on Waves.

With a ship Women on Waves can provide contraceptives, information, training, workshops, and safe and legal abortion services outside territorial waters in countries where abortion is illegal. In international waters (12 miles off the coast of a country) the local laws do not apply. 

Working in close cooperation with local organizations, Women on Waves wants to respond to an urgent medical need and draw public attention to the consequences of unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion. Women on Waves supports the efforts of local organizations to change the laws in their country.

Women on Waves is registered in the Netherlands as a charitable organization under Article 24, lid 4 of the Successiewet 1956. As a result, donations to its Postbank account 3316 are fully tax deductible to the extent allowable by Dutch law. The activities of Women on Waves are supported by private and philanthropic funding. We depend on your contributions (which you can make on-line via a secure server) to continue our activities.

  • Our Team

    Read about all of the people who are and have worked for Women on Waves! Read more »

  • Medical Licenses of Women on Waves

    Women on Waves travels with a specialized abortion doctor, a gynaecologist, and a specialised nurse so we can offer help and advice that even exceeds the highest standards for normal abortion services in the Netherlands and other EU countries. Read more »

  • Legal Position of Women on Waves

    In 2018 Women on Waves received a license to perform abortions with pills on board a Dutch sailing yacht of 10 meters in international waters Read more »

  • Financial information

    Here you can find the annual reports of Women on Waves. Currently we have 1 part time paid staff member and a lot of volunteers. The members of the Board receive no remuneration, either directly or indirectly. The management receives a salary for the activities carried out. Read more »

  • Board members and Director

    The board members of Women on Waves are: Gunilla Kleiverda Steve Chapman Cees Hamelink Patricia Atkinson  The boardmembers do no receive any financial compensation for their work The Director of Women on Waves is Rebecca Gomperts, MD, MPP, PhD, she has an annual bruto salary of 70000 euro Read more »

  • Statuten Women on Waves

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