|geert on Fri, 15 Feb 2002 23:41:01 +0100 (CET)|
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|[Nettime-bold] newsletter from womenonwaves.org|
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 8:51 PM
Subject: newsletter #4
14 February 2002
I write to give you a quick update on Women on Waves in light of the recent decision by the Dutch government to refuse us a license to operate, and some news of developments in the past six months, and a short list of needs that we have for which we would welcome help. These newsletters have turned out to be very important to us in mobilizing support; so let me first say thanks to all for your valued interest, feedback and letters of support.
First, we were notified last Friday by the Dutch Ministry of Health that it denied our request for a license. Our lawyers have concluded that the basis of the decision was remarkably weak and likely unlawful. Thus, Women on Waves has decided to appeal the decision and our sense is that we have a very good chance to win. This of course costs time; at least eight weeks in the best case and two years in the worst.
Since we now have funds and the organization to mount another campaign this
summer, we are in the meantime looking for opportunities to sail under the flag
of another country that has a liberal abortion law and does not require a
special license. One of these countries is very promising and we already found a
ship registered in this country that we might be able to charter. Although there
are still some small things that have to be sorted out, we are very hopeful that
we will do our next project this summer in any case.
Here's the licensing issue in brief.
1- In the Netherlands abortion is only allowed in places that have a special
license; providing abortion without a license is punishable with four and a half
years in jail.
Our quality handbook explained how we would provide follow-up care -- our
procedure is this:
With the abortion pill there is never an acute life threatening complication. We are able to treat all the complications in the treatment room as it is fully outfitted,to do vacuum aspirations as well. We will always work together with local medical doctors. And most importantly there will always be a gynecologist on board, a standard of care that no other abortion clinics in the Netherlands provides.
The report of the inspection ignores these facts; they assume that we will do vacuum aspirations at high sea and that hospitals in the countries we visit will need to do the aftercare (which many by the way can and do very well). We stated that Women on Waves will do the after care , and we work with local doctors and women's organizations to provide continuity of care.
It is on the basis of this information that we will appeal.
Concerning the problem of the government inspecting us, we stated that we would inform them where we are and are always willing to pay for the tickets to come to inspect us. A seagoing country like the Netherlands must be able to inspect its ships all over the world.
During the 10 month decision process, we spoke to the Minister of Health and others, and received continuous signals that we would receive confirmation that we could provide early treatments. In the end, we didn't get that; this too provides good grounds for appeal. The Minister of health Borst stated that she appreciated the goals of Women on Waves and wished us success with our other activities, information and prevention.
The downside of all this is that we won't be able to do this summer's action
on a Dutch ship without concluding the appeal; this is for ship's liability
insurance reasons. Therefor we decided to try to sail a ship registered in an
other country as long as we do not have the Dutch license.
Other news in brief:
1- Women on Waves was invited by Porto 2001, the European Capital of Culture,
to participate in the exhibition "First story-women building/new narratives for
the 21 st century" from October 13 till December 18). (http://www.firststory.net/FirstStoryNet/New/WoW.html
2- We published a book about the pilot project in Ireland with testimonials, photo's and the whole inside story and will launch that on February 22nd.
3- Rebecca Gomperts has been named by Ms Magazine as one of the "Women of the Year "! http://18.104.22.168/dec01/woty.asp
4- We have been able to raise sufficient funds for the next project.
The denial of the license creates a bit of funding gap however and we will need
to pass the hat at least once more; we are grateful for your financial support !
1- We need medical experts that are willing to write a expert report from
their experience about several possible aspects of abortion care as possible
complications and aftercare with the use of the abortion pill. This is needed on
a very short notice. The report does not have to be too long but we need it to
use for our appeal. We would appreciate it if you could address the following:
Please contact us when you are willing to write such a report or send it too: Women on Waves, P.O.Box 15683, 1001 ND, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2- We would like to call on everybody to write a letter to our Minister
Borst, expressing your solidarity with Women on Waves, the need of the services
we provide in your and other countries and your faith in the quality of the
project and the medical (after)care we will give. We would appreciate it
if you could send us a copy as well (to be used in the appeal process) and
please let us know whether we can use your reaction in the Dutch press.
Minister E. Borst
We will keep you informed; write back if you can!.
On behalf of Women on Waves