Pro-choice activist group Women on Waves announced it will launch an abortion drone from Germany into neighboring Poland where the practice is banned, carrying packages of an abortion-inducing drug legally used by doctors in other countries.
The mission, which is to be completed this Saturday, is to raise awareness of the unequal abortion laws in Europe, said the group’s founder and director Dr. Rebecca Gomperts.
“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,” said the organization in a press release.
Women on Waves is a Netherlands based non-profit organization that provides abortion information and medications around the world. The upcoming mission to Poland has been a collaboration with other German and Polish pro-choice groups.
According to the groups, abortions have been severely restricted in Poland since 1993, except in extreme cases of incest, rape or if the woman's life is in jeopardy.
The strong restrictions in Poland, however, do not stop women from seeking out ways to end unwanted pregnancies, say the organizations. Rather it pushes them to seek treatment in other countries or seek alternative methods, often in dangerous or unsanitary conditions. According to groups, an estimated 48,000 underground abortions take place in the country every year.
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The drone will be launched Saturday at 11 a.m. from the border town of Frankfurt an der Oder carrying the two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, which when taken together can end an unwanted pregnancy. It will land in the Polish town of Slubice where other women's groups will be waiting to receive them and distribute to Polish women in need.
The two drugs are both on the World Health Organization's list of Priority Life Saving Medicines for women, since illegal or “unsafe abortion complications can lead to death associated with hemorrhage and sepsis,” explains the WHO.
“Each year, 47,000 women die due to complications of unsafe abortion,” added the WHO in a 2012 document Priority Life-Saving Medicines for Women and Children.
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