A Dutch abortion boat has been granted government permission to perform abortions in international waters on women up to 7 weeks pregnant, despite a massive national and international outcry, the Times online reported.
The boat has caused an uproar at home in the Netherlands and abroad. Condemned by governments and pro-life organizations as a propaganda tool for pro-abortion activists, the abortion boat has come under intense criticism for offering to perform abortions on women from countries where the procedure is illegal.
Operated by Women on Waves, the abortion boat was effectively shut down in 2004 after then-public health minister Clémence Ross imposed a ban on travel into international waters, forbidding the boat to travel outside a radius of 25 km from Amsterdam's Slotervaart hospital.
The ban instituted by Ross was overturned by the Council of State last year, which said Ross had failed to adequately justify the decision to restrict the boat's activities. The coalition parties now in power have said they are left with no choice but to permit the boat to sail into international waters.
Vowing to target the nations of Ireland, Poland and Malta where abortion is illegal, Women on Waves is not satisfied with the terms of their license and intend to challenge the seven week restriction on gestational limits for abortion, according to the ANP, seeking the right to abort babies throughout the full first trimester of pregnancy.