Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Monday, August 30, 2004

Women on waves

Women on waves set off for Portugal on August 23rd, invited by Acção para a Paz, Clube Safo, Não Te Prives and UMAR, to help Portuguese women who need it to terminate their pregnancy in safe and dignified conditions. Women on Waves is a Dutch non-profit organisation "concerned with women's human rights. Its mission is to prevent unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortions throughout the world." The Portuguese Navy is waiting to hear if the boat presents a military or health hazard, in which case the boat won't be allowed to enter.

Within Europe Poland, Malta, Ireland and Portugal have restrictive abortion laws. But Portugal is the only country where doctors, nurses and women having an abortion are actively prosecuted. It makes the whole thing a sordid and often dangerous affair.

I have sat in the waiting room of a doctor's clinic in Cascais at 1 in the morning amongst people waiting for an abortion. The abortions were carried out after midnight by the doctor's receptionists. Most of the girls, between 12 and 16, were with their mother. There were a lot of tears as they entered the "doctor's" examination room which was filled with smoke because the three receptionists ( with blood stains on their white coats) were all heavy smokers. The girls had to keep their shoes on, pulling their trousers down to the ankles. It had to be a quickly in and quickly out affair because demand is high.

On the one hand these girls were unlucky because if you have the right connections you can find a properly trained nurse or even doctor to do the business. On the other hand they were lucky because they had found the 500 Euros it cost to have the abortion at this clinic. For your money you also knew that the receptionist had a mobile phone round her waist which, she said, she would use to contact the doctor immediately if something went wrong. The real doctor would also check you up one week later. If you didn't have the 500 Euros to pay this clinic, you could find someone to do it for as cheap as 100 Euros.


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