Women on Waves Making Waves: Medical Abortions in International Waters

Authors: Marcia England*, Miami University
Topics: Gender, Social Geography, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: abortion, unequal access, international law, social justice
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper discusses Women on Waves--a Dutch organization that provides medical abortions to women--in the context of access and care. In countries where abortions are illegal, Women on Waves brings a ship that sails in international waters in order provide safe medical abortions for women up to 6.5 weeks. The organization is about ensuring equal access to reproductive health for all women and does so through, what I argue, a feminist ethic of care. It is a labor of love for many of the workers while at the same time a democratic imperative. Abortion is a topic rarely discussed in academia (even in reproductive geography) and the stigma associated with research on the subject as well as the procedure needs to be dismantled. This research, with its focus on more equal abortion access, addresses how Women on Waves can contribute to a caring and safe medical abortion experience and lead to potential empowering experiences for both workers and patients.

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