Drone being used to deliver abortion pills across border

A drone being used to carry abortion pills into Poland this weekend may also be used for the same purpose in Ireland, it has emerged.

The so-called abortion drone is being sent by an organisation, Women on Waves, that provides medical abortion pills around the world.

It is the first time the women’s rights group is using a drone to deliver the pills. The Dutch-based organisation usually sends the pills by post after women have placed orders online.

The drone, weighing less than 5kg, will fly over the German border into a Polish town on Saturday morning. It will fly from Frankfurt, where abortion is legal, to Slubice in Poland.

It will not be flying in a controlled airspace so no authorisation is required under Polish or German laws.

Abortion laws have been restricted in Poland since 1993. It is only legal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy in cases of rape or incest where her life is in danger, or if there is potential damage to the foetus.

Women on Waves provides advice on its website as to how women in Ireland can get abortion pills or travel to another country in Europe to have an abortion in a clinic.

The founder and director of the Dutch group, Rebecca Gomperts, said the drone would help women practically as well as raising awareness about the inequality in abortion laws across Europe.

“In a sense it’s a campaign to call attention to the reality for women in Poland. But there’s a future for it as a delivery model. We might do it in Ireland,” Ms Gomperts said.

She said Poland was chosen because there was a lack of awareness around its abortion laws. However, if the mission is a success, it could also be deployed to Ireland where women can only have abortions if their lives are at serious risk.

The UN has called on Ireland to hold a referendum on abortion and address the “highly restrictive” laws on sexual and reproductive health.

It is particularly concerned about the legal and procedural clarity on what constitutes a real substantive risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of the pregnant woman.

The Pro Life Campaign said those involved in the “publicity stunt” showed a real disregard for the health and wellbeing of the women in Poland. “It is very inappropriate for a group from outside the country to try and interfere in the debate in that way,” said its deputy chairwoman, Cora Sherlock.

The focus should be on finding the root causes that drive women towards abortion and eliminating them, she said. “If we truly care for women and their wellbeing we would be fighting for women-centred solutions that do not force women to choose between her circumstances and her child.”


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