Women on Waves on Tue, 3 Feb 2009 22:42:15 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] European Court rules that Portugal violated Freedom of Expression of Women on Waves.

Press release 3-2-2009

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that article10, that  
guarantees the freedom of expression, was violated when the Portuguese  
government send warships to prevent the Women on Waves ship from  
entering Portugal in 2004.  With a ship, Women on Waves sails to  
countries where abortion is illegal. After sailing to international  
waters, early abortions with medicines can be provided safely and  
legally. Women on Waves? mission is to prevent unsafe abortions and  
empower women to exercise their human right to physical and mental  
autonomy. Every year 20 million women resort to unsafe abortion  
services as a result of which 70.000 women die unnecessary.

The case with the ECHR was filed by Women on Waves and two Portuguese  
associations, Clube Safo and Não te Prives.

For the press release and the ruling of the ECHR please visit:

The purpose of the ships visit to Portugal was to call attention to  
the consequences of illegal abortion, to give information and sexual  
health education and to catalyze change of the restrictive abortion  
law. Until 2007, when abortion was legalized, Portugal was the only  
country within the EU that actively prosecuted women and doctors for  
illegal abortion. When the ship arrived at Portuguese national waters,  
the Portuguese minister of Defense forbade the ship to enter national  
waters. Even though the ship did not violate any Portuguese, Dutch or  
international laws with the activities on board.

The minister of Defense even send two war ships to monitor the ship  
Borndiep during 24 hours a day while it was drifting in international  
waters. The majority of Portuguese population supported the campaign.  
Early December 2004, only two months after the ships visit to  
Portugal, the Portuguese president decided to dissolve the Portuguese  
government. The Socialist Party won the new elections in February 2005  
with an overwhelming majority and promised to hold a new referendum on  
easing the country's strict laws against abortion as soon as possible.

The national referendum on abortion took place in February 2007, two  
and half year after the Women on Waves ship visited Portugal, Abortion  
is now legalized in Portugal. (for more information about the campaign  
in Portugal please visit our website www.womenonwaves.org)

For more information please send an email to :press@womenonwaves.org
or call +31652052561

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