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Guatemala authorities expel Dutch ‘abortion ship’

Staff Writer |
Guatemala has expelled a Dutch “abortion ship” carrying activists who had vowed to help women circumvent the country’s long-standing prohibition against terminating pregnancies, the army said.




Activists from the group Women on Waves had been guarded aboard their moored sailboat by a navy vessel, Saul Tobar, commander of Puerto Quetzal on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, told reporters.

“Notified of its expulsion from the country’s territorial waters for having failed to comply with immigration regulations” late Saturday, the crew requested permission to set sail, he said. The activists saw no patients.

Immigration authorities ordered the expulsion Friday, saying the group’s members lied in their entry declaration papers, claiming to be tourists and not members of a “health organization” that aimed to perform abortions.

Abortion is allowed in Guatemala only in cases in which a mother’s life is deemed in danger.

The sailboat Adelaide arrived at the southern port of San Jose on Tuesday carrying 10 activists from Guatemala, as well as from Brazil, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

They had planned to offer abortions in international waters off Guatemala’s coast over five days, picking up five women at a time by dinghy.

Abortions were to be induced with two pills. Counseling, treatment and aftercare were also to be available for women seeking the group’s services.


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