The first abortion ship campaing of Women on Waves visited Ireland in 2001 and Women on Web has facilitated safe abortions with pills to women living in Ireland since 2006.
Since 2014, we campaigned alongside Irish parliamentarian Ruth Coppinger and the women's rights organisation ROSA and we are proud we provided the scientific data about the number of women living in Ireland who used abortion pills that helped Irish politicians reach the decision that abortion should be legalized in Ireland.
Also in 2018 we developed innovate campaigns and strategies that influence public opinion and led to change of policies and laws. Only when abortion pills become available without any obstacles, will all women, also the most vulnerable ones with difficult social economic circumstances, domestic violence, mental and physical health problems that limit their mobility and undocumented women be able to access this much needed healthcare service. And until this is reality everywhere, Women on Web will continue facilitating access to safe abortions with pills.
So lets have a look back at some of the highlights of 2018.
- On the invitation of Northern Ireland women's organisations, Women on Waves provided abortion pills for the first time ever with an abortion robot in Northern Ireland. The abortion robot made front page news.
- On the invitation of Korean Women's rights organisations, we visited Seoul in South Korea for an awareness campaign about illegal abortion in June and collaborated with an abortion pill protest in August when 125 women swallowed the abortion pill in defiance of the restrictive abortion laws in South Korea.
- We provided a five-day training session on medical abortion, post-abortion care, contraceptives and human rights aspects of safe abortion for 40 participants consisting of women, community workers, nurses, midwives, pharmacist and doctors in south Kivu Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The Women on Web helpdesk answered more than 120.000 emails from women around the world in 17 languages.
- Women on Web provided almost 10.000 electronic prescriptions for the Emergency Contraceptive Elle-One to Polish women for free in 2018! Since august 2017, Poland is the only European country that requires a prescription for Emergency Contraception.
- YouTube removed the video channels from Women on Waves and Women on Web three times this year. Both channels contained animations with lifesaving information about safe and effective ways to do an abortion with medicines. Some of the animations can also be seen the the documentary Vessel. After Bits of Freedom send out a press release which generated media attention and an internal contact with google, YouTube did not take down our account anymore.
- The appeal court case against the Dutch Government for obstructing access to mifepristone on prescription of general physicians in pharmacies, was initiated by Women on Waves, Bureau Clara Wichmann and a group of Dutch general physicians. Together with the Bovengrondse we protested in front of the court. The court decision is expected in February 2019.
Several scientific research articles about Women on Web were published in the last year and had a far reaching impact.
- A new study of Women on Web data published in BMJ shows harm caused by restrictive abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
- A study containing in depth interviews exploring the reasons why women from the USA look for abortion pillls online.
- On January 23 th, the BMJ published research about the use of abortion pills obtained through Women on Web by women living on the Isle of Man. On January 30 th, the paper was circulated under the MHKs to give them good background information before the vote on a new bill allowing abortion up to 14 weeks. The bill passed in the House of Keys. On November 7 th the bill was given unanimous backing by Tynwald members. The Abortion Reform Bill 2018 is delivered to the Lieutenant Governor for Royal Assent. Once it receives Royal Assent, the Council of Ministers will to name the date when it will be enacted.
- We also co-authored a submission for the Gibraltar Abortion Command Paper.
Women on Web and Women on Waves were one of the 20 expert witnesses providing testimony during the Supreme court hearing in Brasilia, Brazil . The court will consider whether Brazil’s restrictive abortion laws are violating constitutional protections. The ADPF case was filed by the Socialism and Freedom Party, together with the Anis-Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender. Here you can read the testimony.
- In February 2018, we sent a submission on the Queensland Law Reform Commission's consultation on the review of termination of pregnancy laws. The submission included information about the 254 women from Queensland who requested the abortion pill from Women on Web between 2015 and 2017. In October Queensland parliament votes to legalise abortion
- Women on Waves and the Sisterhood Network teamed up to fight attempts to further restrict abortion rights in Poland in the Constitutional Tribunal.
- The Abortion robot participated in the play BACHANTKI of director Maja Kleczewska and CHOTKOWSKI Lukasz Polish Theatre Powszechny in Warsaw. It was featured in several media outlets in Poland.
So our New Years Wish for 2019 is that we will continue to make obstacles to safe abortion care visible, catalyze policy and legal changes that remove the obstacles and continue to create better access to abortion care around the world. And with your support we can really do it! (please click here to make a donation for Women on Waves or Women on Web)
Thank you so much!
On behalf of everybody working with Women on Waves and Women on Web and women from around the world.
Wanted to say a big thanks for the support through the abortion. I took the pill on the 24th of October and just got my period there. It feels so good knowing that that stressful time in our life is finally over and that my body has healed, makes it so much easier to come to terms with what has happened. Honestly, don't know how we would of coped without your services, knowing that we didn't have to make that traumatic, expensive journey from Ireland to England made everything a lot easier. It helped to know that we could take the pill in the comfort of our own home and not have to worry about travelling home etc. It's such a great service that yous provide to women and I can't praise yous enough.
thank you so much women on web for helping me to this matter. It's really a big help for me to my problem, i don't know what to do at first i discover that i'm pregnent. so much thankful for your kind hearted to help women like me who abuse and raped. I'll just wait for the meds to come and deliver it on my doorstep. thank you so much again.
Thank you for creating such a safe and non-judgement space for me. This means more than you’ll ever know and has the same effect as saving one’s life.
My pregnancy was not a result of my own actions and I am grateful for this service. I can now try rebuild my life and move on from something horrible that i should never have had to go through. I never believed in abortion until the circumstances I was in.