GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — The army of Guatemala has expelled the crew of a Dutch boat that had docked on its shores in an effort to transport abortion-minded mothers out to sea, where it would provide drugs to end their child’s life.
According to reports, the non-profit organization Women on Waves had docked at the Port of San Jose last week to offer medicinal abortions to mothers in the country. The group proffers abortions to women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant, as it transports them out to international waters to provide mifepristone and misoprostol.
As abortion is illegal in Guatemala, except in cases where the mother’s life is deemed to be in danger, Women on Waves thought it could get around the prohibition by offering the abortions out at sea.
“Guatemala has been chosen because the laws are very restrictive on the subject of abortion,” Quetzali Cerezo of the group Women in Equity, which partners with the organization, told reporters.
However, President Jimmy Morales would have nothing of it.
“The military will not permit this group to carry out its activities in the country,” read a complaint from the Guatemalan army, according to the Dutch News outlet Deutsche Wells.
It said that must adhere “to the Constitution regarding the preservation of human life and the laws in effect in our country.”
But Women on Waves decried the denial, stating the government was “obstructing a lawful protest against the state’s restrictions on the Guatemalan women’s right to safe abortion.”
“Here we have all required licenses to enter, stay and sail in Guatemala. Detainment of the abortion ship is a violation!” the group also Tweeted.
It said that “[e]specially at the dawn of the Zika crisis, access to safe abortion is fundamentally an issue of social justice.”
Four of the seven crew members on the ship were U.S. citizens, according to La Prensa Libre. Those aboard the boat include Rebecca Gomperts, Daniel Evans, Merilee Nyland, Alicia Ott and Seth Bearden.
Deutsche Wells reports that a crowd of protesters was ready to push back against the abortion organization, to physically block those from Women on Waves who came ashore.
“Why don’t you go to the Netherlands to kill children?” called out Marleny Arias, 50.
While Roman Catholicism is prominent in Guatemala, it is also stated to be the most Evangelical country in Latin America, with 40 percent of the population identifying as Evangelical and 47 percent identifying as Roman Catholic.