Services provided on the she ship during Guatemala campaign

The following services are provided for free:
- Information about and provision of contraceptives
- Information about and provision of emergency contraceptives
- Pregnancy testing
- Non-directive pregnancy counseling
- Counseling on sexually transmitted infections
- Safe abortions with pills

Women on Waves provides abortion services in a legal and safe way after sailing to international waters. You will be treated according to European professional medical standards, which include full confidentiality about counseling and/or treatment.

Women in need of services can call +50222786724


Unplanned  pregnancy

If you are pregnant you have three choices:

  • Continue the pregnancy and keep the child 
  • Continue the pregnancy and place the child up for adoption
  • End the pregnancy by having an abortion

Whatever you decide, Women on Waves will support you and help you make your personal choice in this situation.



Your decision has to be made free of coercion, and you have to be well-informed about all the alternatives. Many women with an unplanned pregnancy have different and sometimes conflicting emotions: feelings such as insecurity, desperation, anxiety, depression, shame or guilt may compete with happiness. Our counseling service will help you cope with these feelings now and in the future, providing information about all your options and supporting you in making your personal decision.



You can make an appointment with us by telephone, email or by visiting the ship. In a personal consultation we will provide counseling. You can be accompanied by your partner, friend or family.  We will ask you to talk with us about your situation. Feel free to tell us voluntarily and confidentially about violent acts, if they occurred. We will discuss your medical history, examine you and make a sonogram, preferably vaginally.


If you decide to have an abortion

We will give you information about the procedure and the very small risk of complications. We will also discuss future contraception. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you want. You will be asked to sign a patient agreement and informed consent form.

We will inform you about when and where to board the ship. A telephone number where we can contact you discretely is very helpful. If you decide to cancel the appointment, feel free to do so even without mentioning the reason, but please let us know by phone or email.


Abortion services

The pregnancy termination will involve a trip with a ship. You will get a seasickness tablet before departure. If you use any prescribed medicines, pills or inhalers, use them normally and take them with you. Other things you should take along:

  • Passport or identity card
  • Information about your Rhesus factor, if known
  • A change of underwear and sanitary towels.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, no high heels.

During the sea travel you where you can talk with staff and other clients and have something to drink and eat. After about two hours we will arrive in international waters


Abortion pills

The medicines used for a medical abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol, have been on the list of essential medicines of the WHO since 2005 and are available in almost all European countries.

Scientific research by the World Health Organisation has shown that medical abortion can easily be done by women themselves at home without supervision by health professionals. A medical abortion has the same health impact as a spontaneous miscarriage.  Usually women themselves handle a miscarriage without additional medical supervision.(1)

For pregnancies of up to 10 weeks (70 days) a medical abortion is done:

1-    A woman swallows 1 tablet of 200 mg Mifepristone

2-    24 hours later the woman can put 4 tablets (800 μg) of misoprostol under the tongue (sublingual).

The abortion pill (Mifepristone) is responsible for ending the pregnancy and is provided in the international waters. You can decide at any moment that you do not want to proceed with the treatment and that you do not want to take the pill. Be prepared to experience quite severe pain (similar to menstrual cramps or worse) for which we will prescribe analgesics. Nausea and vomiting are normal side-effects of the Misoprostol.


What to expect after an abortion?

Especially after a medical abortion, it is hard to predict how long the bleeding will last. Generally, a period of about two weeks is normal, but shorter or longer periods are possible as well. Blood loss is often heavy with clots and in some cases (2%) vacuum aspiration is needed to treat persisting heavy bleeding (incomplete abortion) and very rarely (0,02%) a blood transfusion is needed.


When to contact us

Don’t hesitate to contact us in case of fever lasting more than 6 hours (more than 100 °F or 38 °C) or in case heavy bleeding soaks through two full-size thick sanitary pads per hour for two consecutive hours.



If your Rhesus factor ( a kind of blood-type) is negative and depending of the duration of your pregnancy , the doctor will discuss with you whether it is useful to receive an injection with anti-D immunoglobuline.



Prophylactic use of antibiotics is advised by some doctors to prevent an infection after a medical or surgical abortion. The doctor will discuss with you whether it is useful in your situation.


Check-up to confirm that  the abortion is complete

Bleeding after using Mifepristone and Misoprostol does not necessarily signify that the abortion has occurred. A check-up is essential, preferably with a sonogram. The Women on Waves doctors can provide this service shortly after the abortion,


Vacuum aspiration treatment

In case of heavy bleeding or continuing pregnancy you might need a vacuum aspiration about which you will receive additional information and counseling.

The doctor will insert a speculum in your vagina, disinfect the cervix and give local anesthesia. This is usually not painful. After dilating the cervix the doctor inserts a thin plastic tube into the uterus  which is then emptied with a pump. The procedure only takes a few minutes. Some women feel painful cramps, as during heavy menstruation, usually for a minute at the end of the treatment when the uterus is emptied and contracts. Afterward the nurse will bring you to a private space where you can lay down. If you feel well you can put on your clothes and the nurse will guide you back to the mess room.



Women on Waves will provide you with information on contraceptives in order to help you prevent a future  unwanted pregnancy .

  • Pill: you can start on the evening of the day of the abortion and they are available on board.
  • Information about alternatives such as  IUD's, diaphragms, hormone injections, implants and sterilization


Myths about abortion

People who are against free choice and legal abortion create many myths around abortion which never have been proven.

  • Fertility problems: safe abortion does not increase the risk of future infertility or pregnancy problems. 
  • Other medical problems: there is no evidence of any medical illness related to safe abortion.
  • Psychological problems: for many women the decision to have an abortion is difficult and may provoke feelings of sadness or guilt. Still, most women also feel relieved afterward.  There is no evidence of increased risk of long term ‘post-abortion’ stress, depression or anxiety, or any other psychological illness.






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