Lifestyle & Belief

Morocco blocks Dutch "abortion ship" from entering country


Abdelilah Benkirane, Morocco's new prime minister as the leader of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) at a press conference in Rabat on November 27, 2011, after the announcement of the official parliamentary election's results. The moderate Islamist party won the most seats in Morocco's parliamentary elections, giving it the right to lead a coalition government for the first time.


Abdelhak Senna

In the United States, politicians who try to curb access to abortion and contraception are accused of holding a "War on Women." In Morocco, the phrase has a more literal meaning--the country is trying to block abortions with a war vessel. A Dutch activist group called Women on Waves says that it has been blocked from entering the Moroccan port of Smir, BBC News reported.

Women on Waves activists travel on a massive ship to countries where abortion is illegal. The group anchors itself near the country in question and provides access to medical abortions on the ships, the BBC said. 

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The group's latest destination planned was Morocco. But as Women on Waves approached, they found that the harbor was blocked by the Moroccan Navy, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We can see a big warship in front of the harbor,” Gunilla Kleiverga, a gynecologist, told the AFP. 

Morocco's Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it had not authorized the visit, CNN reported. The main entrance to the harbor has also been clocked by police. A Moroccan lawyer representing the group is currently trying to negotiate with officers.