Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea. Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this. Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters.
Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades. But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills.
We witness the creation of an underground network of emboldened, informed activists, working at the cutting edge of global reproductive rights, who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who heard and answered a calling, and transformed a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.
A Sovereignty Productions presentation, in association with Fork Films, Impact Partners, and Chicken and Egg Pictures.
Vessel was made possible with generous support from HIVOS, Mary Wohlford Foundation, Hope Foundation, NYSCA, Fledgling Fund, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Mama Cash, Harnisch Foundation, Ipas, Grant Me the Wisdom Foundation, Diane and Adam Max, Lambrecht Family Foundation, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Dobkin Family Foundation, Compton Foundation, Neda Nobari Foundation, over 150 individual donors, an army of fabulous volunteers, and the fiscal sponsorship of Women Make Movies.
“A deeply moving portrait… powerfully impassioned.”
“An intriguing story passionately told, shot through and through with activist zeal”
"The Dawn of the Post Abortion Clinic"
"Vessel Inspires the Future Fight for Abortion Rights”
"How long until illegal abortion is the norm here, too?"
“How could we create a space in which the only permission a woman needs is her own?”
The Woman Who Sailed A Mobile Abortion Clinic Around The World
"Humanity will always search for spaces of freedom and privacy,' Rebecca Gomperts."
"Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a Jezebel Shero of the Year."
“Meet the woman leading a D.I.Y. abortion revolution.”
"An Interview with the Activist Helping Women Have DIY Abortions"
"Almost too cinematic to be real."
"Vessel is much more than a documentary about abortion rights; it’s about the conviction, creativity, and sacrifice that goes into creating a movement."
“A powerful, knock-your-socks-off documentary that will strike fear in your hearts and remind you to get out and fight for what’s right!”
“Intense, emotional, and inspiring”
"Compelling and emotionally charged."
“Shows a big idea can become something even bigger”
“A nuanced, educational and powerful film about activism and its ability to change the world”
“Vessel tells an extraordinary tale that needs to be seen and discussed”
“Vessel” is a fascinating film, by turns happy and sad, optimistic and pessimistic and very moving throughout.
“Judging by the screaming “Bravos!” at Vessel’s premiere, the SXSW crowd was hungry for a commonsense documentary showing women taking back control of their own health care choices.”
"A fast-paced, heart-thumping adventure... a must see"
"Beautiful and heart-wrenching"
"Could a new film premiering at SXSW really change the Abortion Landscape in Texas?"
Rebecca Gomperts: ‘If men could get pregnant there wouldn’t be abortion laws’
"A fascinating film about freedom, freedom of expression, and human femininity; watching this movie will make you wipe away tears, stand up and think about how you too can make a difference."
"This is a vital film about true women warriors."
"The documentary is understated and beautiful, and we are left with a sense of hope... a poignant reminder of the power of both individual stories and collective support."
Women on Waves was founded in 2000 with the aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions by providing sexual health services, including early medical abortions (abortion with pills), on board a Dutch ship, outside the territorial waters of countries where abortion is illegal.
In the last 10 years Women on Waves has generated enormous public interest, and much controversy, with ship campaigns in Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. The ship campaigns are conducted by invitation and in collaboration with local partner organizations, and are designed to add momentum to activist efforts already on the ground working to liberalize law.
Although legalization of abortion is important, medical abortion now gives women the possibility to take their lives into their own hands, regardless of the legality of abortion or the willingness of doctors. Ensuring that WHO-researched information about medical abortion is easily available to women can save women’s lives. Therefore, Women on Waves now focuses on helping women access information about medical abortion by distributing information through the internet, grassroots efforts on the ground, and by supporting the creation of safe abortion telephone hotlines in collaboration with partner organizations across South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
For more information, or if you need help, please visit www.womenonwaves.org
Do you believe the most fundamental human right is the right to control your own body? Do you believe no one should be able to make decisions about what a woman does with her body except for her?
Then get on board!
Sign up to join Vessel’s network of advocates fighting to protect women’s access to reproductive health care. We’ll let you know the most urgent moments and ways to make your voice heard for women’s reproductive rights in your community, how you can help us spread the word about this film to your friends and family, and how you can participate in Vessel actions wherever you are.
|Mar 5||5:30 PM||Seattle, WA University of Washington|
|Mar 6||5:00 PM||Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College|
|Mar 6||6:00 PM||La Jolla, CA University of California, San Diego|
|Mar 6||7:00 PM||Halifax, NS Carbon Arc|
|Mar 8||1:00 PM||Stockholm, Sweden Plattan Library / Klarabiografen|
|Mar 8||3:00 PM||Belfast, Northern Ireland Queen's Film Theatre|
|Mar 8||3:00 PM||Gavle, Sweden Joe Hillgården|
|Mar 8||3:00 PM||Kelowna, BC Okanagan Community College|
|Mar 8||5:00 PM||Davis, CA The University of California Davis|
|Mar 9||7:00 PM||Brooklyn, NY Made in NY Media Center by IFP|
|Mar 9||7:00 PM||Cambridge, MA Harvard University|
|Mar 10||7:30 PM||Huntington, NY Cinema Arts Centre|
|Mar 11||6:00 PM||Oslo, Norway Kunstnereshus|
|Mar 11||7:00 PM||New York, NY Bluestockings Books|
|Mar 12||6:30 PM||San Diego, CA First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego|
|Mar 12||7:00 PM||Allentown, PA Muhlenberg College|
|Mar 12||7:00 PM||Montreal, QC Le Café Des Arts de l'UQAM|
|Mar 17||4:00 PM||Durham, NC North Carolina Central University School of Law|
|Mar 17||5:30 PM||University of Vermont College of Medicine OB/GYN Student Interest Group Burlington, VT|
|Mar 17||7:00 PM||Washington, DC George Washington University|
|Mar 19||6:00 PM||Boston, MA Simmons College|
|Mar 22||7:00 PM||Charlottesville, VA Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church|
|Mar 22||7:30 PM||Auckland, New Zealand Capitol Cinema|
|Mar 23||6:00 PM||Kitchener, ON Kitchener Public Library|
|Mar 23||6:00 PM||Kitchener, ON Kitchener Public Library|
|Mar 24||7:00 PM||Baltimore, MD University of Baltimore Student Center||Buy Tickets|
|Mar 25||6:30 PM||Brooklyn, NY Videology|
|Mar 25||7:00 PM||Toronto, ON United Steel Workers Hall|
|Mar 25||8:00 PM||Berlin K-Fetisch Cafe|
|Mar 26||6:00 PM||Atlanta, GA Emory University School of Nursing|
|Mar 26||6:00 PM||Saint Louis, MO Washington University Law School|
|Mar 28||1:00 PM||Port Townsend, WA Port Townsend Film Festival|
|Mar 30||7:00 PM||Monterey, CA The Middlebury Institute of International Studies|
|Apr 2||3:50 PM||Providence, RI Johnson & Wales University|
|Apr 2||5:30 PM||Houston, TX University of Houston|
|Apr 2||6:00 PM||Long Island City, NY CUNY School of Law|
|Apr 8||5:00 PM||New York, NY Columbia University|
|Apr 10||7:00 PM||Seattle, WA Meaningful Movies in Wallingford|
|Apr 15||5:30 PM||Buffalo, NY University of Buffalo|
|Apr 16||7:00 PM||New York, NY Maysles Cinema|
|Apr 18||11:30 AM||Coral Gables, FL University of Miami|
|Apr 23||7:00 PM||Portland, OR 5th Avenue Cinema|
|Apr 28||6:30 PM||Calgary, AB The Plaza Theatre|
|Apr 28||7:00 PM||Winston-Salem, NC a/perture Cinema|
|May 12||7:30 PM||Philadelphia, PA PFS Roxy Theater|
|May 26||8:00 PM||Vienna, Austria Kulturzentrum Im Amerlinghaus|
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The ship awaits entry to Portugal
Rebecca and the Irish press
The ship arrives in Spain
Ecuadorian activists publicize the hotline
Cecilia and Paula answer the hotline
Rebecca on the ship
Volunteers and women on the ship
the Women on Waves ship
Rebecca Gomperts lands the ship in Valencia, Spain
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