PRI Review

Global Monitor: European Court Favors International Abortion

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Portuguese government broke the law in preventing the Dutch abortion boat from landing when it attempted to enter Portuguese territory in 2004. (Abortion was against the law in Portugal at that time.) Abortionist and foundress of the “Women on Waves” project, Rebecca Gomperts said she is delighted with the finding. “We shall use the judgment for new campaigns outside Europe,” she said.

In 2004, the abortion ship was denied access to Portuguese ports by Portugal's politicians and courts. Portuguese officials ordered two naval vessels out to ensure that it would not enter Portugal's sovereign waters. At that time, Portugal had some of the strongest legal protections for unborn children anywhere in Europe.

The Court unanimously decided that there was a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court ruled that in seeking to prevent disorder and protect public health, the Portuguese authorities could have resorted to other means that were less restrictive of the human rights of “Women on Waves.” Article 10 is the section of the Convention dealing with “expression”.

The Women on Waves organization boasts that the purpose of the project is to have the ship “circumvent domestic abortion law” by offering abortion drugs free of charge. In 2007, however, a report published by the Times of Malta said that the boat's license restricts abortion activity to countries where a “cooperation agreement has been reached with a regional hospital in the country of whose shores the facility is operating.”

See the Source: Hilary White, “European Court Rules Portugal Broke the Law by Blocking Abortion Boat,” LifeSiteNews.Com, 04 February 2009, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/feb/09020404.html

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