By Asmita Sarkar:
International waters. That’s where Women on Waves, a Dutch NGO, performs abortions for women who don’t have access to reproductive rights. The pro-choice organisation was started by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician, in 1999. She says, “It all started when I started working as a ship’s doctor in countries where abortion was illegal. I had seen a lot of women brought in because of illegal abortions. I could not observe that and just let it happen.” The young doctor horrified by the health risks that women take to terminate an unwanted pregnancy started the NGO which provides legal and safe abortion options, in offshore waters.
The organisation built a mobile clinic, which travels to various countries after receiving emails from women who seek out their help. The NGO has faced opposition in many countries and has been even stopped from anchoring. The website, womenonwaves.org, is even blocked in many countries.
Vessel, an award winning documentary, made by first time director Diana Whitten, released in 2014. Whitten has been working with Dr.Rebecca for seven years and has captured the commendable efforts of the organisation with amazing clarity. The film can be watched on many popular online video streaming platforms like Netflix, Google Play, Vimeo, Itunes and others.