(Think Progress) — “How could we create a space in which the only permission a woman needs is her own?”
That’s the question Dr. Rebecca Gomperts poses at the beginning of Vessel, a new documentary that follows her work sailing around the world to teach women how to safely use abortion-inducing drugs. Nearly 15 years ago, Gomperts took to the sea in search of that space for the women who lack reproductive health options.
Gomperts, a physician and former Greenpeace activist, made international headlines after launching the organization Women on Waves, which relies on the use of offshore spaces to advance abortion access. She and her colleagues traveled to countries like Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Morocco to help women use abortion-inducing pills called misoprostol — also referred to simply as “miso” — to safely end an early pregnancy. They administered miso in a clinic aboard their ship, which was registered in the Netherlands. There, under the jurisdiction of Dutch law, they were able to bring safe abortion to countries where the procedure is otherwise illegal.