VESSEL: The film is beautiful documentary that follows Dr. Rebecca Gomperts and her team as they travel by sea to provide medical abortions and distribute information to women around the world.

Gomperts, motivated by the horrifying realities of anti-abortion laws all over the world, started “Women on Waves” as a way to bring access to women in countries that have dangerous anti-abortion laws. Expertly utilizing a loophole in maritime law, Women on Waves travels to Ireland, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal and to provide abortion care.

The expert organizing skills of Women on Waves forms an international network of information sharing, and runs an abortion assistance hotline. They teach women how to perform a do-it-yourself abortion by utilizing prescription medications misoprostol and cytotec.

This film highlights the deadly struggle to find safe abortion, and the necessity to legalize this medical procedure throughout the world. Despite all of these barriers to care, the Women on Waves team provides us with hope.

I attended the screening several weeks ago at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater in uptown Minneapolis. The screening was co-hosted by Whole Woman’s Health of the Twin-Cities, and Pro-Choice Resources. Following the screening, these organizations held a small panel discussion featuring Susan Schumacher, patient advocate at Whole Woman’s Health, LeAnn Littlewolf of Women’s Health Center Duluth, Karen Law, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Resources, and RH Reality Check Senior Legal Analyst Jessica Mason Pieklo.

If you are interested in finding a VESSEL screening near you, or hosting one your-self, check out the films website: For further information on Women on Waves, check out their website: And finally, for information on safe DIY abortions, visit here:–misoprostol–cytotec

Go to this film. Process this film. Let yourself become inspired by this film, then share the information from this film. VESSEL: The Film touched me in ways that no pro-choice film has ever done before. The work of Women on Waves is incredibly brave, the least we can do as pro-choice activists is share it.

Written by Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson was inspired by feminism and politics at a very early age from her passionate mother and academic father. In college, she pursued progressive politics through various student groups and coursework. Dana received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, in Sociology and Social Justice. She has been a part of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota in some capacity since 2012, starting as a service learner, then continuing as an intern, and moving onto the NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota team full-time after college. Dana currently works as the Campus Organizing intern, Clinic Escort Program Coordinator, and Office and Communications Manager. In her free time she enjoys training for triathlons and marathons, traveling, and reading.

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