First flight of “abortion drone” will deliver abortion pills from Germany to Poland

A first in reproductive rights history is going down (pun intended) this weekend, when a drone delivers abortion pills from Germany to Poland

On Saturday June 27th the Abortion drone will fly for the first time packages of abortion pills from Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany to Słubice in Poland.

The campaign is a collaboration between Women on Waves; 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”.

The Abortion drone will mark the different reality for Polish women to access to safe abortion services compared to other women in Europe. In almost all European countries abortion is legal, only in Poland, Ireland and Malta abortion is illegal and women’s rights are still violated.

Women on Waves, you’ll probably recall, has a long history of finding creative ways of providing safe abortions to those in countries where it’s outlawed–from dispensing abortion pills from an “abortion ship” in international waters to the more practical method of mailing them that makes up the bulk of their work.

Founder Rebecca Gomperts describes the goal of the drone trip as both to get the pills on the ground in Poland and to raise awareness about the country’s strict abortion laws. It’s estimated that at least 50,000 people in Poland are forced to resort to underground abortions–some of which are likely not as safe as the ones Women on Waves provides–and thousands more fly to England to end their pregnancies each year.

“Like all of our work, the drone project is a combination of raising awareness and actually delivering the services which are needed,” Gomperts says. “And women are entitled to that worldwide attention–for the violation of their rights, and the enormous social injustice they’re experiencing.”

And while Women on Waves only operates in countries where abortion is outright illegal in most cases, there are ever-growing swaths of the US that could use a project like this too. As Robin Marty writes, “Send in the drones.

Header image credit: Women on Waves

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Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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