Rebecca Gomperts

Picture of Giraffe Rebecca Gomperts

For over 20 years, Dutch obstetrician/gynecologist Rebecca Gomperts has been working to help women obtain safe abortions in parts of the world where that care is illegal.

She’s done that in international waters on a small ship outfitted as a clinic, coming ashore in a small boat to ferry women who need care out to the “Women on Water” ship. Portugal sent warships to prevent her from docking. Morocco also stopped her from docking, and in Poland she was met by a mob of men threatening her as a Nazi.

Nevertheless, she’s continued, providing information online, at “Women on Web,” a nonprofit that receives over 10,000 emails a month from women in 120 nations. On the site, women can learn how to get safe abortion pills, how to use contraceptives, and even get relationship counseling.

Gomperts does telemed sessions with people who are up to 10 weeks pregnant; they pay a fee for the pills, or not, if they have no money.

In 2018 she began mailing safe abortion pills to “tens of thousands of people in the US, regardless of their address.” The former US administration’s FDA told Gomperts stop, but she refused. When the agency began blocking payments to her nonprofit and seizing its packages from the mail, she sued the agency saying, “Unjust laws should not be respected.”

She’s been jailed more than once by governments trying to stop her. As with all who engage in civil disobedience, she accepts that consequence of her resistance, and goes right on resisting.