In Vessel, a 2014 documentary about her boat project, there's a scene where Gomperts ducks and weaves through a crowd of angry Spaniards attempting to prevent the abortion boat from docking. She proudly delivers a speech about legalizing abortion while being berated by dozens of angry protestors. Does the criticism ever bother her?"I don't get scared that easily," she says. "Things like getting pelted with eggs in Poland don't phase me. I think the fact that everything's so public helps. There are cameras everywhere, and everything is being filmed, which obviously offers a form of protection. It's important that you don't walk away from these people; it's a symbolic moment. If you walk away, then they win."
My favorite thing about this job is finding legal loopholes and new opportunities to do things differently.
Seeing access to abortion as a global issue is key according to Gomperts. "It doesn't matter where you live in the world—women have unwanted pregnancies everywhere, and they need access to abortion options." According to the World Health Organization, 42 million abortions are performed every year and half of those are in countries where abortions are illegal. Every year over 48,000 women die during the process, too. "After I received the email from that au pair this morning, I rang a clinic that will probably be able to help her. If they can't, then we have another solution for her. It shouldn't be this hard. There shouldn't be any barrier for a girl like that."Some have suggested that Women on Waves' staunch approach is not only attention seeking but could even be classed as neocolonial in its attempt to bring abortion to women globally. This, she says, is a "political argument" that has nothing to do with what she does. She points to other organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Doctors Without Borders, that are all working with other countries and local organizations to draw attention to and solve global issues."They're never accused of being neo-colonialists," she says. "It's an argument that is only used by those who are against abortion and to those people I say: If you're against abortion, then don't get one. But if you think that other people shouldn't have access, then you're the true colonialist. I couldn care less about anyone who says that. The grateful emails I get are more important. It's so special to be able to literally save someone's life. As for the rest, who cares?"
According to the World Health Organization, 42 million abortions are performed every year, and half of those are in countries where abortions are illegal. Every year, over 48,000 women die during the process.