Lauren O’Neil, from CBC News reports on what possibly could be the most political use of personal drones to date. In my opinion, having the option to use abortion-inducing pills is important. Dutch activists are using loopholes to deliver abortion-inducing pills to women in Poland “— without the need for any sort of government authorization, thanks to their unique method of delivery.”
Women on Waves, the non-profit group of doctors and activists behind the project, are delivering mifepristone and misoprostol, medicines used for a medical abortion, using drones. While these drugs are not yet registered in Poland, the World Health Organization has listed these as essential medicines since 2005.
How do they deliver unregistered medicines to women in Poland?
- The entire project is not commercial, it is run by a non-profit group of doctors and activists
- The drone, including payload, weighs less than 11 lbs (5 kg)
- The drones are loaded with mifepristone and misoprostol in Germany, where abortion is legal
- The drones deliver the abortion inducing pills to border towns in Poland, where abortion is severely limited since 1993
Why is it legal? “The Dutch group explained that, because its consumer drone weighs less than 5 kg and is not used for commercial purposes, neither Polish or German laws could prohibit it from flying between borders.”
A proof of concept flight was completed using a small drone loaded with “medication prescribed by a Dutch gynecologist and flown from the German town of Frankfurt an der Oder to Slubice, Poland.”
Delivering the pills into Poland means the drone had to avoid being shot down by pro-life activists. Seriously? The entire trip took just 60 seconds and the drone succeeded in delivering its payload.
Rebecca Gomperts, Founder and Director of Women on Waves, was quoted saying:
“We want to create awareness about women’s right to a safe abortion. The drone is another way to use the different laws in different countries in order to draw attention to the social injustice that women who are living in places where abortion is illegal are subject to.
“In Poland, even women who could have an abortion under Polish law are often denied it because Catholic hospitals don’t help them, even if their life is in danger. Rich people can go to Germany or the UK to have abortions, but it’s the women who don’t have the means or access to information who are suffering.”
The event was captured on video:
Abortion drone flies to Poland delivering abortion pills
Abortion is not currently legal in Poland unless a woman’s life is in danger or evidence of rape, incest or severe fetal abnormalities is provided.
Because of this, more than 50,000 underground abortions are performed illegally each year in the traditionally Catholic country, often by doctors who use outdated tools and charge thousands of dollars, according to The Guardian.
The “abortion drone” was created both as a way to raise awareness about Poland’s laws, and to provide women living there with a safe and affordable alternative when it comes to ending unwanted pregnancies.
‘Abortion drone’ delivers pregnancy-terminating pills to women in Poland – Doctors with a non-profit Dutch charity use quadcopters to give women in Poland access to safe abortions
Since this is a fairly interesting story in my opinion, I’ve collected links to a few more related stories. This project is definitely getting a lot of attention.
- Abortion pills delivered by drones
- ‘Abortion drone’ to fly pills across border into Poland
- Drones Defy Polish Abortion Law to Drop Reproductive Health Drugs
- Drones deliver abortion pills to women in Poland
- Feminist powered drones drop abortion pill into Poland
- Why are feminist drones dropping abortion pills on Poland?
- Women on Waves Launches Abortion Drones in Poland
UPDATE: I found a new related video:
Germany/Poland: Drone delivers abortion pills to Slubice despite German police intervention
For more videos from Women on Waves, you can check out their YouTube channel.
About Women on Waves
Women on Waves (WoW) is a Dutch pro-choice non-profit organization created in 1999, in order to bring reproductive health services, particularly non-surgical abortion services, to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Other services offered by WoW include contraception and reproductive counseling. Services are provided on a commissioned ship that contains a specially constructed mobile clinic. When WoW visits a country, women make appointments, and are taken on board the ship. The ship then sails out to international waters (where Dutch laws are in effect on board the ship) to perform the medical abortions.
Rebecca Gomperts, Founder and Director of Women on Waves, studied medicine and visual arts in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Post graduation Gomperts became an abortion doctor and sailed with the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, as its doctor and as an environmental activist. Sailing in South America she encountered many women who suffered greatly due to lack of access to reproductive health services and safe, legal abortions. These women and their stories inspired Rebecca Gomperts to start Women on Waves.
Thanks goes to Dronelife, for their story “Women’s-Rights Groups to Deliver Abortion Drugs to Poland by Drone.” That story is what motivated me to respond and write this piece.