Women’s rights groups will use drones to fly abortion pills from Germany to Poland this Saturday. The campaign hopes to raise awareness of Poland’s restrictive abortion laws, which differ dramatically from the majority of the European Union.
Poland has one of the most restricted reproductive rights in Europe. It’s among three countries, which include Ireland and Malta, where abortion is illegal. Women are only able to get abortions in the most extreme cases: if the women’s health is in danger, there is proof of rape or incest, or if the fetus is severely deformed.
The political stunt is a collaboration between Women on Waves and other European groups fighting for women’s reproductive rights. Inspired by the drones being tested to deliver packages by both Google and Amazon, Women on Waves announced the ‘abortion drone’ in a statement. They hope to highlight the “different reality” Polish women face when trying to access “safe abortion services compared to other women in Europe.”
It’s difficult to determine the number of abortions that occur in Poland. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the official abortion statistics underestimate the true extent of abortion, as many women are forced to use dangerous ‘underground’ methods. The WHO also notes the ‘robust’ abortion tourism, where Polish women have to travel to neighboring countries to access abortion services.
The drone will be transporting the WHO-approved abortion pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – from Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany to Słubice in Poland. These pills can be taken without medical supervision for pregnancies of less than nine weeks, Women on Waves says.
The drone won’t require authorization from Polish authorities as it weighs less than 11 pounds (5 kilograms) and will not be flying in controlled airspace, according to Women on Waves. The drone will also not be used for any commercial purposes and will stay within the sight of the person flying it.