[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 22 June, 2003, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
Abortion ship enters Polish port
Protesters point out the ship
A Polish church leader said the ship wanted to "kill Poles"
Protesters flung red paint and eggs as a Dutch ship finally entered a Polish port on Sunday to offer abortion advice to the staunchly Roman Catholic country's women.

The arrival of the Women on Waves ship, which had originally hoped to dock on Friday night, has caused a storm of controversy.

Anti-abortion campaigners say the ship is trying to import a banned abortion pill into Poland.

The port chief in Wladyslawowo, north of Gdansk, said the Langenort had not received permission to dock and could still be asked to leave.

"If someone does not respect our regulations, they have to be aware of the consequences," Kazimierz Undro told the Polish news agency PAP.

Women on Waves earlier complained that they were initially kept out of the port on the pretext of poor weather and said the port authorities had failed to provide a promised pilot to bring the ship in.

About 200 young protesters, said to be mainly Polish nationalists, pelted the Langenort with paint and eggs from a pier.


Women on Waves uses the ship to offer the abortion pill to pregnant women in countries where abortion is illegal.

It docks in international waters and members of Women on Waves offer advice and treatment to women who come on board.

The floating clinic, which is licensed by the Dutch Government, was invited to Poland by local women's rights groups.

On board are two doctors and a nurse who are able to provide counselling, contraceptives and the abortion pill to women no more than six and a half weeks pregnant.

To circumvent strict Polish anti-abortion laws, the group plans to take women aboard and sail 20 kilometres (12 miles) out into international waters to administer the pills.

'Hospital of death'

It is up against fierce opposition from Polish anti-abortion groups and nationalist political parties, who have dubbed the ship "the hospital of death".

Pope John Paul II reading a sermon in Croatia
The Polish Pope - a role model for his compatriots

The Archbishop of Gdansk, Tadeusz Goclowski, has described the boat's mission as an attempt to "kill Poles."

Abortion has been illegal in Poland since 1993.

It is only allowed in cases of rape or where the health of the mother or embryo is in danger.

Many Poles look to the Polish Pope, John Paul II, as the highest moral authority.

No abortions on 'abortion ship'
15 Jun 01  |  Europe
Viewpoints: Population control
30 Jun 99  |  World population

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific