The ship providing abortion service onboard is blocked from docking in Spain
Aurora, a ship sailing under the Dutch flag, is performing abortions in international waters near the coasts of countries, in which anti-abortion sentiments are strong. The group called Women on Waves has launched a campaign to give women an option to have an abortion even if they do not have one on their country’s mainland. Today Aurora was supposed to drop its anchors near Valencia, Spain, but was blocked from docking by a flotilla of small ships carrying Spanish anti-abortion activists. Spain’s abortion rules are very strict compared to the rest of the Europe, where abortion law is a lot more liberal.
On their website, Women on Waves describe the medications required to provoke an abortion, provide updates on EU regulations on abortion, solicit for donations and list abortion clinics worldwide. The site also comments on the group's Spanish campaign and claims the ship would dock in Valencia “at the invitation of 33 Spanish organizations” concerned with a better abortion law.
The terminations will be carried out using medication rather surgery outside Spanish waters under the Netherlands’ more liberal abortion laws.
Josep Luis Carbonell, a Spanish gynaecologist who is to carry out some of the terminations, said that the arrival of the boat would allow “abortions outside Spanish law for the first time in Spain’s recent history but without violating it”.
The group’s supporters include the actress Pilar Bardem, mother of the Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem.
Rita Barbera, the Mayor of Valencia, who is a member of the opposition Popular Party, has branded the move as “intolerable filling us with indignation”.
The Spanish Association of Catholic Doctors (FAMC) and another campaign group, Listen, called on the city council to ban the ship from docking. Jose Maria Simon, FAMC president, said: “This campaign is financed by the abortion industry. They carry out between 100,000 and 200,000 abortions each year.”
Spain decriminalised abortion in 1985 allowing terminations up to 12 weeks in the case of rape. Abortions can be permitted up to 22 weeks in cases of severe foetal malformation. There is no time limit on abortions if there is a risk to the mother’s physical or mental health.
Some private clinics have been accused of carrying out illegal abortions during the late stages of pregnancy.