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.

...Thank you!




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



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.

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Community Screenings



Upcoming screenings

Date Venue
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



Nonprofits, student groups, activists and educators can sponsor local screenings to broaden the film's reach. To host a local screening, you contribute a modest screening fee and, in return, we give you:

  • The Vessel DVD
  • The Public Performance Rights for Vessel
  • Action and Discussion Materials
  • Digital Promotional Tools

...And hands-on support from our community screenings team!

Fill in our brief request form to indicate your interest, or email We look forward to responding within 1-2 business days with instructions on how to get started!

Get On Board


General Inquiries:

World Sales:
Philippa Kowarsky | Cinephil | +972 3 566 4129  |

Kayla Keller | Fitzgibbon Media | 281.682.6212  |

Community Screenings and Filmmaker Appearances:
Caitlin Boyle | Film Sprout | 347.682.2483  |

North American Sales: 
Jake Hanly | FilmBuff | 212.463.6403 |


Photos by Diana Whitten and Cedric Zoenen
Poster art by Empty the Sunrise