Four women's charities from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland have teamed up to send the world's first 'abortion drone' into skies above Eastern Europe
OK, we’ve got to hold our hands up and admit something: until this morning, we didn’t realise that abortion was still illegal in Poland.
We knew about Ireland (although hopefully this woman’s campaign will change that), and we knew about Malta. But Poland just kind of… slipped through the cracks.
Which just makes the news of this ‘Abortion Drone’ all the more important.
In what might just be the most futuristic story we’ll post all day, on Saturday June 27 at 11am a drone carrying packages of abortion pills will fly from Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany, to a town called Slubice, located just 1.5km away in Poland.
Under current legislation, women in Poland are only allowed an abortion in cases of rape or incest, when their life is in danger, or if there is known damage to the foetus. And even in the above circumstances, a termination is very difficult to obtain.
Subsequently, tens of thousands of women are either forced to travel miles away from their homes to have an abortion abroad, or they find themselves desperately buying pills online. And while the former can be devastatingly traumatic, the latter can be incredibly dangerous too. After all, pills sold online aren’t regulated, and it’s almost impossible for women to know what it is that they’re taking.
Which is why the packages being delivered by this drone are so important. Containing Mifepristone and Misoprostol, the World Health Organisation has determined that the medication is safe for women who are up to nine weeks pregnant to take at home, without supervision by health professionals. And while it’s illegal for doctors to prescribe abortion pills, pregnant women in Poland cannot be subjected to punishment for sourcing them themselves.
The campaign isn’t the first of its kind (although it’s the first one involving a flying robot – at least as far as we’re aware). In fact, it should come as no surprise that Rebecca Gomperts’ charity Women on Waves is behind it. The Dutch activist hit headlines in 1999 when she began sailing the seas to countries where abortions are illegal, before giving women access to abortions on her yacht when they were safely out in international waters.
But on this occasion, Rebecca isn’t working alone. She’s teamed up with Cocia Basia, a Berlin based abortion support group for Polish women; Feminteka Foundation from Warsaw and the 8th of March women’s rights informal collective ‘Porozumienie kobiet 8 marca’.
Together, they’re hoping that Saturday’s demonstration will not only give women in Poland safe access to pills that they can’t access in their home country, but raise awareness of the problems facing women who live there, too.
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Which sounds like exactly the kind thing we’d like robots to get on board with, to be honest.