Another woman received help from the Women on Waves ship in international waters.

This morning when the crew was preparing to leave for a short sailing trip, a woman with an unwanted pregnancy who has spend the night in Valencia, sought help from Women on Waves. The captain decided to sail to international waters so that the medical staff could provide her with the abortion pill. Because the weather conditions will change tomorrow, the captain decided it would be best if the ship leaves Spain this evening after returning to the port and disembarking the passengers.

Women on Waves had talked to several women about the possibility of sailing out one more time to international waters, but all of these women opted to get a clinical abortion in Spain, either because they were past the 6 ½ week pregnancy limit required by Dutch law, or because they preferred to get a clinical abortion. However, at the last minute a woman who had driven from almost 200 km away was able to get on the boat.

The boat sailed out to international waters on choppy seas, testing the queasy stomachs of some of the passengers, and returned in the afternoon, greeted by feminist supporters of the action.

For many women, living far from a clinic can also present obstacles to accessing an abortion. The use of medical abortion can allow women to get any necessary treatment at ambulatory care centers and smaller, unspecialized local hospitals and clinics. These clinics are sufficient to treat women with spontaneous miscarriages, and any follow-up care for women who have had a medical abortion is exactly the same, both in symptoms, and in treatment.

In the evening, Rebecca, Cecilia, and Gunilla addressed a lecture hall in the University of Valencia law school. The lecture was attended by people both for and against the campaign, sparking a lively but civil debate. Unfortunately, the debate coming from those against abortion was focused on late term abortion, which represents only a tiny fraction of the abortions performed. For example, less than 1% of legal abortions are performed after 24 weeks, and less than 1.4% are performed after 20 weeks. About 80% of abortions are performed before 9 weeks of pregnancy, and about 90% in the first trimester.

Also, some people wanted to argue against the legalization of abortion, ignoring the fact that by legalizing abortion, you do not see a statistical drop in the number of abortions, but rather a statistical rise in the number of women who die or are injured due to unsafe abortions. So by making abortion illegal, or otherwise limiting access to safe abortion, you do not “save” even one fetus, but you do, effectively, cause the deaths of thousands of women due to unsafe abortion. It is too bad that these people so focused on the prevention of suffering have such an erroneous understanding

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