RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan authorities said Wednesday that a Dutch ship promoting legal abortions set to dock in Morocco is operating outside the law and could possibly be stopped before arriving at a northern Mediterranean port.
The Dutch ship, which promotes safe and legal abortions worldwide, was invited by a Moroccan women's group to raise awareness in the struggle to legalize abortions, which are not allowed in this conservative Muslim country. It is scheduled to arrive at the port of Smir on Thursday.
It would be the "Women on Waves" boat's first landfall in a Muslim country.
"We haven't been informed about the arrival of this boat and from a security standpoint. It's a boat we don't know or why it is coming, so I don't see what we can do," Minister of Interior Mohend Laenser told The Associated Press.
Minister of Education Lahcen Daoudi added that any boat coming to Morocco had to respect its laws. "The people charged with applying the law will apply it on everything to do with the boat," he said.
According to a statement by the organization, the ship can provide women with safe and legal abortions under Dutch law in international waters until the six-and-a-half week of pregnancy.
The organization said it had set up a hotline for Moroccan women to give information about abortion, including locally available pharmaceuticals that can be safely used to perform abortions at home.