The waters are troubled in Guatemala. Not because of Trump and his deportations — last week he sent General John Kelly, former head of the Southern Command, to the country. Not because of poverty, corruption, the murders of environmentalists and femicides. But because of the arrival of the “abortion ship” of the Dutch NGO Women on Waves.
The ship, organized by a group of feminists from different nationalities, typically goes to countries where abortion is banned and it stops in international waters. Then, together with local activists, some feminists call at the ports nearby to retrieve women who choose to have an abortion and ferry them to the ship. Once on board, they receive a free dose of the abortion pill, which is effective within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
This is the first time that the ship has visited Latin America, stopping first in Guatemala, where abortion is not permitted except to save the mother’s life. Consequently, a very high number of illegal abortions are performed at a very high risk to women in unsafe conditions. According to Women on Waves, 65,000 abortions are practiced every year in Guatemala, or 180 per day.