There’s a fascinating interview in The Guardian’s Women’s pages today with Rebecca Gomperts. The name may not be familiar, but you may well have heard of her ship – Rebecca is the doctor responsible for the Dutch ship Women on Waves which sails the world providing abortions adjacent to countries in which it is illegal.
Having spent time working in international waters off of Ireland, Poland and Portugal the Women on Waves ship is headed to Africa next. Rebecca is determined to put a stop to at least some of the 70,000 deaths which occur annually worldwide as a result of unsafe abortions – 97% of which are carried out in developing countries.
“I remember meeting an 18-year-old girl in South America who was desperately trying to take care of her three younger brothers and sisters. She had recently lost her mother because of a backstreet abortion. Her mother had been pregnant for a fifth time and couldn’t support another child so she had gone down the illegal route. I thought, how is it possible that a whole family has lost their mother just because she couldn’t get a safe and legal abortion?”