1001 ND Amsterdam
About Women on Waves
Women on Waves is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1999 by Rebecca Gomperts, MD, MPP, and headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. They are committed to promoting human rights through providing safe abortion services.
Women on Waves began its mission by sailing to countries to provide safe abortion access where abortion was, or still is, unsafe or restricted. In international waters, twelve miles out to sea, the laws that govern a ship are those of the country in which it is registered. Therefore, operating at sea on a Dutch ship, Women on Waves could legally administer the abortion pill to women from these other countries.
Women on Waves has sailed to Ireland (2001), Poland (2003), Portugal (2004), and Spain (2008). While the ship campaigns are primarily designed to create heightened public awareness, Women on Waves currently continues its tradition of employing a direct action method by working extensively with grassroots women’s groups from different countries to educate them about how to do safe medical abortion. It has initiated safe abortion hotlines in Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Pakistan, Indonesia and trained local women’s organizations in several African countries. WoW is currently expanding services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.