In the first week of April we had a discussion night on abortion. It was not the first time that we paid attention to this fundamental human right. We’ve had a discussion night on the topic back in October of 2016 and we organized a benefit for Women on Waves before that. Therefore we decided to really focus on activism on this night. Two persons who work for Women on Waves joined us and talked about the way that Women on Waves work.
Women on Waves was founded in 2000 and their first deed of activism was sailing to Ireland with a mobile clinic on a boat. Because the ship sailed under the Dutch flag, Dutch law applied to the ship when it entered international waters. This meant that abortions could be legally carried out on the ship. By going to countries where abortion is still illegal, Women on Waves could provide abortion to some people, while also generating an enormous amount of attention to the topic. On Netflix you can watch a wonderful documentary, Vessel, on the way that Women on Waves has been operating.
At the discussion night, the people of Women on Waves informed us about other activist tactics the organisation has been using. Local activist groups around the world have been trained to inform people on safe abortion methods. Via their website Women on Web the organisation shares information for all who are in need of an abortion or who have had an abortion. Women on Waves provides pills through the mail and support via e-mail in many languages. They have also used drones to drop pills in countries where safe abortion is still not easily accessible. In several countries where abortion is illegal, people are not able to easily access internet as well. Therefore, there are also many abortion hotlines set-up, that people can call when they need information.
So what can we do?
When you visit a country where abortion is illegal, you can spread stickers with the phone number or web address of Women on Waves. That way, people can find out how they can have a safe abortion.
You can make a donation to Women on Waves. At the discussion night we collected money and where able to make a small donation to Women on Waves of €25. You could also set up viewings of the film Vessel and gather donations that way.
And of course, we can use the tactics of Women on Waves as an inspiration for our activism, both in the fight for safe and legal abortions, but also in other areas. Lets get a drone and spread our messages through the air! Lets spread stickers and flyers when we are visiting our home countries or when we are on holiday in countries where people are denied their human rights.
Do you want to read more on abortion? You can check out our previous posts on the subject by clicking here.