Last Saturday, abortion-inducing medication flew from Germany to Poland on the world’s first abortion drone in order to help women gain “access to safe abortions” in Poland, where strict abortion restrictions exist.
The campaign was launched by several reproductive rights groups, including Women on Waves, an abortion support group for Polish women, along with several other European women’s rights groups.
According to Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Waves and former Greenpeace activist, this initiative could possibly open up greater technological avenues for women to access abortions in Europe.
“We’re very interested in the new developments around drones,” Gomperts told The Telegraph in an interview. “In a sense it’s a campaign to call attention to the reality for women in Poland. But there’s a future for it as a delivery model. We might do it in Ireland.”
Despite Poland’s abortion laws, the drones are legally acceptable because they will be leaving from Germany, where abortion is legal. Additionally, since the drone is lightweight and not flying under commercial interests or controlled airspace, government approval from Poland or Germany is not required.
Gomperts said that this campaign is important because it facilitates independence for women and reduces dependence upon doctors.
“You don’t need to be dependent on other people. All of the women can do it themselves, if they have the medication and know how to use it,” Gomperts told ThinkProgress in an interview. “I think that is what makes medical abortion so significant, and so revolutionary and so important. You don’t need a doctor to take some pills. That’s the bottom line.”
This is not Gomperts’ first campaign to provide women with greater accessibility to abortions. After serving as a physician on one of Greenpeace’s ships, she launched Women on Waves to “provide contraceptives, information, training, workshops, and safe and legal abortion services outside territorial waters in countries where abortion is illegal.” Women on Waves sails around the world to provide these services to women.
The abortion-inducing medication used by Gomperts—mifepristone and misoprostol—have been approved by the World Health Organization as an “essential medicine” since 2005. Approximately 1.5 million women in Europe have aborted their pregnancies using these medications. In the United States, however, there have been attempts from states to create restrictions concerning the usage of these abortion-inducing pills.