London (CNSNews.com) - Dutch pro-lifers prayed at a North Sea dockside Monday, shortly before a ship left a nearby port to take its message of "reproductive rights" and offer of offshore abortions abroad.
In a symbolic gesture, supporters of the Cry for Life group threw bottles into the sea at the Hoek of Holland, carrying SOS messages urging other nations "to come to the rescue of our country" and warning them about the dangers of the Netherlands' latest "export."
Later Monday afternoon, the world's first "abortion boat" sailed from the nearby port of Scheveningen, spokesperson for the organizers, Joke van Kampen, confirmed.
It is heading for Ireland, where abortion remains illegal in most cases.
The Women on Waves organization hopes to sail the ship to mostly Third World countries, where its staff will promote abortion and contraception, train medics in abortion techniques, and carry out abortions in international waters, under Dutch law.
The idea has caused alarm in some quarters in the Netherlands.
"Our country is exporting a lot of good products and has the biggest harbor in the world," Cry for Life President Bert Dorenbos said by telephone.
"Now we are starting to export evil stuff - [same-sex] marriages, euthanasia, drugs ... soon we may have a 'death pill' for the elderly. We are known in Holland for the export of evil products," he said.
"We are calling our country [to return] to normal, and for the international community to stand up and speak and to come and help our country, and especially we call on Christians for prayer. Dutch Christians are against abortion and complain about it, but when it comes to political action or to make a stand they are reluctant," Dorenbos said.
"Holland has been a blessed country over the years sending out many missionaries around the world. They brought the message of life. Today Holland exports a message of death," he added.
Although he is saddened by the sailing of the abortion boat, Dorenbos said it may be that the "pro-abortionists have gone too far" with this latest campaign.
"People with any amount of common sense will be able to see that this idea is out of all proportion. Even pro-abortion proponents see the foolishness of this plan," he said.
Dorenbos said it was the height of insensitivity for the boat to visit Africa, "where AIDS is causing the death of whole regions of population," only to offer "to kill even more people."
The Women on Waves ship's first stop will be Ireland, where the organization said in a statement it would sail into Dublin port on Thursday afternoon. It has been invited by a coalition of pro-abortion and left-wing Irish groups.
The group's founder, Dutch abortion doctor Rebecca Gomperts, says at least 70,000 women around the world die each year unnecessarily during unsafe, illegal abortions.
See Earlier Stories:
Dutch Abortion Ship To Make First Stop In Catholic Ireland (May 30, 2001)
Dutch 'Abortion Ship' Ready To Sail (June 5, 2001)