Morocco says incoming abortion ship illegal

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012

"There are between 600 and 800 abortions a day in Morocco, that's an enormous amount," said Ibtissame Lachgar, a member of MALI (Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties), the group that invited the boat. "We want to legalize abortion, to condemn this law that destroys freedom, that we find criminal." 

The Moroccan Health Ministry issued a statement that if the people on the boat were intending to perform operations, they would be in violation of the law. "The Ministry of Health ... was never informed of this event and has not authorized any party or doctor, not residing in Morocco, to carry out this medical procedure," it said.

Founded in 1999, the Women on Waves organization seeks to spread information about safe medical abortions through medication and has angered authorities in conservative Catholic countries, where abortion is also often frowned upon.

Women can be counseled or provided abortion medication on the ship outside the territorial waters of the countries outlawing the procedure.

The ship has carried out campaigns in Ireland, Poland and Spain. It was banned from entering Portugal's waters in 2004.

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