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Feminist Majority Foundation Assists Women on Waves

National Clinic Access Project Offers Security Training and Threat Management

WASHINGTON, DC -- Women on Waves arrives today in Dublin, Ireland, where abortion is illegal, to provide abortion and reproductive health services to women on a specially equipped ship. The Feminist Majority Foundation’s (FMF) National Clinic Access Project staff is currently providing technical expertise in contemporary threat management and is assisting in the development and implementation of security protocols for the vessel. FMF is assisting the Dutch ship, led by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, and donating time, staff and resources to ensure the safety of the staff, crew, and women patients aboard the sailing clinic.

“We are concerned about the threats and violence of anti-abortion extremists, especially Americans who we know have traveled to Ireland,” said FMF President Eleanor Smeal. “James Charles Kopp, the alleged assassin of Dr. Barnett Slepian, was in Ireland shortly before he was arrested in France,” added Smeal. “We not only hope to protect the ship, its staff, crew, and the women aboard who seek reproductive health services, but we think this will open up an important dialogue about illegal abortions and the impact they have on women’s lives around the world.”

According to the Irish Family Planning Association, more than 6,000 Irish women traveled to Britain to obtain abortions last year. It is unknown how many others attempt at-home abortions or seek unsafe, illegal abortions. The United Nations estimates that 80,000 women and girls worldwide die annually from complications resulting from botched, illegal abortions. Women’s health and feminist organizations estimate the number to be greater than 200,000.

Margaret M. Moore, FMF director of law enforcement operations, has been working with community volunteers and professional hired security in Ireland for several weeks, training them to assess threats of violence and implement specialized security plans. She has also served as a liaison with local Irish law enforcement in an effort to curb any potential violence and ensure safety around and aboard the ship. Moore will be in Ireland assisting security operations this week and will be available for interviews.

The Feminist Majority Foundation runs the National Clinic Access Project, the nation’s largest and oldest clinic defense project, providing emergency clinic security, assistance, and community organizing support, monitoring anti-abortion extremists, and working with law enforcement to improve responsiveness to clinic violence. The Anti-Abortion Violence Watch is published monthly and sent to law enforcement and media to inform and educate them about the threats posed by anti-abortion extremists. The project has conducted the most comprehensive annual nationwide social science survey of anti-abortion violence at women’s health clinics for the past eight years.

Women on Waves is a non-profit organization concerned with women's human rights. Its mission is to prevent unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortions throughout the world. The Dutch vessel will provide non-surgical abortions, contraception, counseling, and other services. Working in close cooperation with local organizations, Women on Waves wants to respond to an urgent medical need, empower women to exercise their human right to reproductive health, and draw public attention to the consequences of unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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