Women on Waves, a Dutch organization that aims to give information about safe abortions and proper sex education, has announced plans to send abortion pills via drones to countries where there is little or no legal access to safe abortion methods.
In 2001, Women on Waves launched one of their ship campaigns to Ireland, where they provided the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol, WHO essential medicines, despite legal troubles at that time. Since then, they have launched successful campaigns to provide abortions in international waters (so Dutch law technically applies aboard) and spread information and awareness in other countries with stringent abortion laws. These include Portugal, Spain (it’s now legal there!), Morocco, and Poland, where the first drone campaign has just been successfully completed on 27 June. The drone was flown from Germany to just over the border in Poland, where the pills were received and taken by two women.
Women on Waves is now working on a way to bring this to Ireland to help women who cannot afford (and shouldn’t have to) a trip to England for this type of healthcare. I’m interested to see how this plays out. The chair of Ireland’s Pro-Life Campaign has already started freaking out about it, which is a good sign. At the very least, I think the spectacle of having a drone carry these pills will gain some media attention and start conversations about the current state of Ireland’s abortion laws and the damaging and unwarranted stigma these laws reinforce. And hopefully sometime soon, Irish women won’t have to resort to such absurd tactics and risk going to jail just to get proper healthcare services. You can learn more about abortion rights in Ireland here.