Drones Defy Polish Abortion Law to Drop Reproductive Health Drugs

Activist group “Women on Waves” makes its first-ever air delivery, bringing important medication to those who need it most.

Image courtesy of Women on Waves.

Women on Waves, a Dutch organization that provides women living in countries with restrictive abortion laws access to information and tools for reproductive health, dispatched its first abortion drone this week, making a successful delivery of abortion pills to Poland. The drone took off from Frankfurt, Germany, where abortion is legalized, crossed the Oder River, and landed in Słubice, Poland, where a group of women were ready to receive and ingest the pills.

Polish law as it currently stands prohibits abortion, except in specific cases (in life-or-death situations, for example, or if the pregnancy is the product of an illegal act). The Women on Waves drone was carrying mifepristone and misoprostol, two medications that need to be taken simultaneously to facilitate the termination of a pregnancy. According to Women on Waves, German police tried to interfere with the drone’s landing, but the activists succeeded in delivering the pills to a group of women waiting on the other side of the river. They ingested the pills before Polish police could confiscate the medication.

Although this is Women on Waves’ first drone mission, it’s not their first delivery. The organization frequently traverses international waters in a boat to provide women with access to abortion services, as well as contraceptives, workshops on reproductive health, and other information they might have difficulty accessing in their home countries. Because the ship stays out of the jurisdiction of any local governments, women are free to receive whatever clinical treatment they might need. Earlier this year, the organization launched an app to provide women with information on their local abortion laws and how they can recieve a safe medical abortion where they live.

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