'Vessel' follows the Dutch physician who founded Women on Waves, which provides abortion services on a boat in international waters to women in countries with restrictive laws.
Protesters call it the “Ship of Death.”
Since 2001, Women on Waves (WoW), a Dutch non-profit organization, has chartered a yacht to countries with restrictive abortion laws. It docks in places ranging from Ireland to Morocco, and women in desperate need of abortions board the ship (sometimes in disguise), sail into international waters, and undergo a medical abortion—a non-surgical pill that combines the drugs misoprostol and mifepristone. The whole operation is possible due to a loophole in international law whereby when on a vessel in international waters, the laws of the flagship country apply. Women on Waves boat is a Dutch ship, and in the Netherlands abortion is legal up to six-and-a-half weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.