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, 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.

Follow Vessel

Community Screenings



Upcoming screenings

Date Venue
Opening   Jan 9 New York, NY IFC Center Buy Tickets
Feb 7 3:00 PM New York, NY Athena Film Festival Buy Tickets
Feb 7 7:00 PM Toledo, OH People Called Women Feminist Bookstore
Feb 9 6:30 PM Boston, MA West Village F 20, Northeastern University
Feb 9 7:00 PM Columbus, OH Meiling Hall, Room 112, Ohio State University College of Medicine
Feb 10 7:00 PM Chapel Hill, NC Hanes Art Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Feb 11 7:00 PM Aspen, CO Wheeler Opera House
Feb 12 5:00 PM Brownsville, TX The University of Texas at Brownsville
Feb 12 6:00 PM Wilmette, IL Wilmette Theatre
Feb 12 7:00 PM Ann Arbor, MI University of Michigan Law School
Feb 16 8:00 PM Richmond, VA University of Richmond
Feb 18 7:00 PM Denver, CO SIE Film Center
Feb 19 7:00 PM New York, NY The New School Buy Tickets
Feb 19 7:00 PM San Francisco, CA Delancey Street Screen Room
Feb 19 7:30 PM Berlin Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Feb 20 2:30 PM Montréal, QC Salon Orange, Centre Pierre Péladeau
Feb 22 7:00 PM Albuquerque, NM The Guild Cinema Buy Tickets
Feb 24 6:00 PM Canterbury, Kent Kent Law School
Feb 25 6:30 PM Calgary, AB The Plaza Theatre
Feb 25 7:00 PM Poultney, VT Green Mountain College
Feb 25 7:00 PM Tulsa, OK All Souls Unitarian Church
Feb 26 6:00 PM Portland, ME University Events Room, Glickman Library, University of Southern Maine
Feb 27 7:00 PM Phoenix, AZ Phoenix Center for the Arts
Mar 3 6:30 PM Saskatoon, SK The Broadway Theatre
Mar 3 7:30 PM Boulder, CO Atlas Building
Mar 4 7:00 PM Galesburg, IL Knox College
Mar 6 5:00 PM Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College
Mar 6 7:00 PM Halifax, NS Carbon Arc
Mar 12 6:30 PM San Diego, CA First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
Mar 22 7:00 PM Charlottesville, VA Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church
Mar 25 8:00 PM Berlin K-Fetisch Cafe
Apr 18 11:30 AM Coral Gables, FL University of Miami
Apr 23 7:00 PM Portland, OR 5th Avenue Cinema



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:
Allie Paddock | 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