Battle brews against Dutch drones set to drop abortive drugs in Poland

Joanna Michnicka/Federation for Women and Planned Parenthood

The Dutch activist group women on the waves (WOW) plans use drones to administer abortive drugs to women in Poland, where abortion is almost completely prohibited. The “abortion drones” are set to launch from Frankfurt, Germany, this Saturday and transport the drugs to Slubice, Poland, where groups of Polish women will be waiting to receive and distribute the pills.

Polish law prohibits abortion except in cases of rape or incest, severe fetal malformation or threat to the life of a pregnant woman. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of the Dutch company WOW, Recount The Guardian:

We want to create awareness about women’s right to a safe abortion. The drone is another way to use the different laws of different countries to draw attention to the social injustice suffered by women who live in places where abortion is illegal.

In Poland, even women who could have abortions under Polish law are often denied because Catholic hospitals do not help them, even though their lives are in danger. The wealthy can go to Germany or the UK for an abortion, but it’s the women who don’t have the means or access to information who suffer.

Because the drones won’t fly in controlled airspace, weigh less than 11 pounds, and aren’t for commercial purposes, launching them doesn’t require permission from the Polish or German governments, according to WOW.

However, this does not mean that the group and its allies (including German women’s groups Ciocia Basia and the Feminoteka Foundation) expect everything to go well. Anti-abortion groups have pledged to take down the drones, which is why WOW has yet to announce the exact location of Friday’s drop. However, “it’s not easy to shoot down a drone and luckily guns are not so easy to get in Europe,” Gromperts pointed out.

WOW currently delivers mail-order abortion medication to women in many countries around the world, but this is its first drone medication delivery mission. If successful, the group plans to try the same in other European countries with aggressive restrictions on abortion, such as Ireland and Malta.

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