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Dutch ‘abortion ship’ in Morocco, police restrict access

Dutch ‘abortion ship’ in Morocco, police restrict access
A controversial ‘abortion ship’ belonging to a Dutch NGO docked in Morocco in secret, its organisers admitted on Friday, after claiming the Moroccan navy had blocked its access.

‘The boat has been here for several days. It arrived before the announcement on Monday that it was sailing to Morocco,’ said Marlies Schellekens, one of two abortion doctors involved in the visit.

The security forces, deployed there since early morning, were restricting access to the harbour, which is located 40 kilometres east of Tangier.

Liesbeth van Tongeren, a Dutch left-wing MP who travelled to Smir for the ship’s visit, explained the boat arrived earlier than the organisers said it would to avoid being stopped by the authorities.

‘It was the only way of getting to the Moroccan coast,’ she said.

Women on Waves, the Dutch group organising the trip, says the ship’s visit, which they hope will last five or six days, is designed to help women induce ‘safe legal medical abortions,’ by offering them the necessary medication and advice. At midday, up to 300 people gathered at Smir to protest against the visit.
 
Abortion is illegal in Morocco, and the health ministry said that the ship was not authorised to operate in Morocco, calling on the relevant authorities to prevent it from doing so.
Agencies

Agencies

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