This thought-provoking documentary follows a young doctor and her decision to challenge anti-abortion laws by providing safe abortions on a ship in international waters. Though vehemently opposed by frenzied governments, public, and media, she transforms her wildly improbably idea into a global movement and model for dedication, resilience and the struggle for women's rights.
It's called "Vessel," and it's a documentary. It's about a woman, Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch doctor, who noticed a lot (a LOT) of women in Europe (to say nothing of elsewhere) were not able to get abortions. So, having been inspired as a child by a trip on a Greenpeace ship, she decided to assemble a crew and a ship, and take the abortions to them. (Hence "Vessel.")
They made a makeshift clinic out of a half-length shipping container, and loaded it on tiny ship. The crew called itself Women on Waves.
First stop: Ireland, where of course they were greeted by hordes of protesters. But they were also greeted by hordes of women needing abortions.
Similarly in Poland, Portugal, Spain, Ecuador, Brazil, Tanzania, Morocco, Indonesia, Thailand, etc., etc., etc.
They don't actually do physical abortions; instead they supply the pharmaceutical kind. The morning-after pill. They have to take extreme precautions to disguise the women coming to the ship (or the clinic, in some places) to avoid intimidation and stigma. And they know they are skirting the law in many places by using the pill--saying they are using it for hemorrhaging, which it is also prescribed for. But in some places, partly as a result of their action (Portugal and Spain, for example), the laws have actually been changed.
Gomperts realized this is the best strategy: spread the availability and the knowledge, and the already-existing demand (for example: in Poland there are between 80,000 and 200,000 abortions, a year, all illegal) will begin to change things in those countries. So now they are less a ship-borne service than an internet one.
Fabulously filmed. Very engaging and inspiring.
And perfect timing for what we are about to face in Trumpistan.
Gomperts says she justifies her stand on the basis of reducing suffering. She knows how much women forced into giving birth suffer, to say nothing of their child, their families, the whole society.
What she does not say (though this might be implicit in her "suffering" argument) is that the world already has too many humans. We don't need to force along more. Those who do not understand this idea are (a) idiots, (b) ignorant about the planet's carrying capacity, (c) completely sectarian, unfeeling about actual life, and only wanting more and more on their team, to kill those on other teams--in other words, they only want babies for cannon fodder, or, most likely, (d) all of the above.
In Poland, Gomperts and crew are vehemently abused and ridiculed as "Nazis," but it should be remembered that Hitler and the Nazis hated abortion--for precisely (c) above.