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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
Dutch limit abortion ship's work
The Langenort abortion ship
The ship has now to stay docked within 25 km of an Amsterdam hospital.
The Dutch government has barred a ship operated by abortion rights activists from sailing to foreign countries.

The boat - run by a group called Women on Waves - sparked protests when it visited Ireland and Poland.

A Dutch court ruled last month that the government's refusal to allow the group to carry out abortions was unjustified.

Under Dutch law, no license is needed for abortions up to six weeks, but the group wants to give the abortion pill to women up to 12 weeks pregnant.

Floating clinic

After the centre-right government's ban, the Langernort abortion ship has to stay docked within 25 kilometres (16 miles) of an Amsterdam hospital.

Services provided
In port:
Pregnancy tests
General info
Non-surgical abortions

"They won't be able to sail to other countries," said Dutch Health Ministry spokesman Richard Lancee.

He added that the ministry's decision was based on the potential risks related to abortions carried out after six weeks, such as acute bleeding.

The ban was the latest legal challenge to prevent the volunteer crew aboard the floating clinic from working in countries were abortion is illegal.

On 4 June, the court in Amsterdam ruled that the government's refusal to issue the group with a permit to carry out abortions was unjustified.

The group said it was studying legal options to fight the government's decision.

"We have the skills and the experience to provide all the necessary medical assistance for this type of abortion," Rebecca Gomperts, the group's founder, told the Associated Press news agency.

The privately funded group was set up in 1999 and has in the past sailed to Ireland and Poland, where legislation prevents women from undergoing an abortion.

The idea is to take women on board and sail out to international waters, where the group will be able to offer non-surgical abortions. However, no abortions were carried out when the ship visited Ireland.

After Tuesday's ruling, the group still said it expected to sail again in the coming months.

No abortions on 'abortion ship'
15 Jun 01  |  Europe
Europe's terms for terminations
02 Jun 02  |  Europe

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