Abortions on the High Seas: Can the Coastal State invoke its Criminal Jurisdiction to Stop Them?t

Abortions on the High Seas: Can the Coastal State... INTRODUCTION In June 2001, the Netherlands-registered ship Sea Change docked in the port of Dublin, attracting considerable media attention. At the time, abortion was legal in the Netherlands,' but illegal in Ireland.2 The crew members of Sea Change openly announced their intent to circumvent Irish criminal law. They planned to take pregnant Irish women on board, travel into interna- tional waters, and there, in international waters, provide abortions. Ulti- mately, the plan was unsuccessful because the crew had failed to acquire the abortion clinic license required by Dutch law, so if crew members had performed abortions on board the ship, they could have been subject to prosecution upon their return to the Netherlands.3 Sea Change was spon- sored by the Women on Waves Foundation ("Women on Waves"), a charita- ble foundation based in the Netherlands, which aims to provide offshore abortions to women who live in coastal countries where abortion is prohib- ited.' The plan proposed by Women on Waves raises issues about the limits of a coastal State's criminal jurisdiction. A traditional view is that a State's criminal jurisdiction ends where its territory ends.5 According to Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ocean Yearbook Online Brill

Abortions on the High Seas: Can the Coastal State invoke its Criminal Jurisdiction to Stop Them?t

Ocean Yearbook Online, Volume 17 (1): 36 – Jan 1, 1

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2211-6001
DOI
10.1163/221160003X00195
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INTRODUCTION In June 2001, the Netherlands-registered ship Sea Change docked in the port of Dublin, attracting considerable media attention. At the time, abortion was legal in the Netherlands,' but illegal in Ireland.2 The crew members of Sea Change openly announced their intent to circumvent Irish criminal law. They planned to take pregnant Irish women on board, travel into interna- tional waters, and there, in international waters, provide abortions. Ulti- mately, the plan was unsuccessful because the crew had failed to acquire the abortion clinic license required by Dutch law, so if crew members had performed abortions on board the ship, they could have been subject to prosecution upon their return to the Netherlands.3 Sea Change was spon- sored by the Women on Waves Foundation ("Women on Waves"), a charita- ble foundation based in the Netherlands, which aims to provide offshore abortions to women who live in coastal countries where abortion is prohib- ited.' The plan proposed by Women on Waves raises issues about the limits of a coastal State's criminal jurisdiction. A traditional view is that a State's criminal jurisdiction ends where its territory ends.5 According to Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of

Journal

Ocean Yearbook OnlineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1

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