After successfully delivering abortion pills to Poland, Women on Waves is now targeting Ireland and Argentina. Delivering these drugs means taking advantage of loopholes that may be closed at any time. The women who receive abortion pills are taking a risk too, depending on local laws they may be prosecuted.
However, not everyone is happy with Women on Waves. Cora Sherlock, deputy chair of the Pro-Life Campaign (in Ireland), said the move is “nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt that shows utter disregard for women’s health and the right to life.” Cora also described Women on Waves as “zealous promoters of unrestricted access to abortion” who ”show zero regard for the lives of unborn babies throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.”
A report published by Amnesty last month notes that 177,000 women and girls have travelled out of Ireland for abortions in England and Wales since 1971. An estimated 4,000 still make that journey every year.
The pro-life campaign has slammed plans to airdrop abortion pills to Ireland.
A drone operation successfully delivered pills to two women in Poland just over a week ago.
The drone flew misoprostol and mifepristone, abortion pills approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), from Frankfurt in Germany to Slubice, a Polish town near the German border, on 27 June.
Women can safely perform medical abortions with the approved pills up to nine weeks into their pregnancies, according to WHO.
Dr Rebecca Gomperts, the director of Dutch pro-choice group Women on Waves, which sent the drone, told Newsweek that the organisation now plans to target Ireland and Argentina, where access to abortion is also strictly limited.
Not only is there real potential in drug delivery via drone (just ask QuiQui), actually deliver abortion pills to Ireland will call a lot of attention to the issue.
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.
Newsweek ran a piece on the subject, too.
Ireland is going through a real social revolution, Gomperts says, adding that “many people are really fed up with the fact that the government is not in touch with the sentiments of the people who really want women to have access to abortions”.