On the blocking of abortion rights websites: Women on Waves & Women on Web


Illustration of a woman looking at the front of an hospital surrounded by tapes that close the entrance.

Image: By Clarote (Coding Rights)

While many parts of the world have acknowledged some aspects of gender inequality and have progressively changed their practices and legislations towards the promotion of women’s rights, the protection of sexual and reproductive rights (particularly the right to have an abortion) remains a taboo subject. As such, in some countries, abortion is still criminalized in complete disregard of women’s right to self-determination, dignity, health, bodily autonomy, and, ultimately, their right to life.

Women on Waves sails a ship to countries where abortion is illegal. On the ship – in international waters (where local laws do not apply) – Women on Waves provides women with abortion services, contraceptives, information, and training. As abortion remains criminalized in several countries and Women on Waves has adopted unconventional tactics to support safe abortions around the world, their websites (womenonwaves.org and womenonweb.org) have been censored by certain governments.

This report shows relevant findings about blocking of abortion rights website, based on OONI measurements from 2019.

Coding Rights is a Brazil-based feminist organization focused on issues pertaining to gender and technology. Thanks to Coding Rights’ community engagement activities, many Brazilians have been measuring the blocking of websites - including womenonwaves.org - over the last few years through the use of OONI Probe.

OONI Probe is free and open source software designed to measure the blocking of websites and various other forms of internet censorship. Hundreds of thousands of OONI Probe users run censorship measurements in around 210 countries every month.

Publication date: 
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Year of publication: 

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