The drone that Women on Waves will use to drop the abortion pills in Poland. (Photo: Courtesy of Women on Waves)
This weekend, the international women’s rights group Women on Waves will launch what it is calling an “abortion drone” into the skies at Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, fly it about a mile to Slubice, Poland, and pepper the country with packets of abortion pills.
The stunt is meant to make a statement about current reproductive rights in Poland, as compared with the rest of Europe. Access to abortions has been limited in the country since 1993, and women are only allowed to have abortions in the case of rape, incest, or if a mother’s life is threatened by the fetus.
According to the press release from Women on Waves: “The Abortion drone will mark the different reality for Polish women,” who, unlike other women in Europe, are not able to access safe abortion services. It goes on to say that, “In almost all European countries abortion is legal,” but that in Poland, Ireland and Malta, “abortion is illegal and women’s rights are still violated.“
The pills in question, by the way, are legal in the United States, and available in most European countries. As a 2006 Mother Jones investigation showed, they’re increasingly used by low-income immigrants in the United States. The medicine is not available in Poland.
The group’s protest is part of a growing trend of surprise international deliveries. Earlier this year, a South Korean activist named Lee Min-bok successfully launched more than 80,000 copies of the controversial Seth Rogen film The Interview into North Korea. The comedy, set in the isolated country, was publicly denounced by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
Lee’s efforts mirrored those of a group of North Korean defectors who used the same balloon-drop tactics to send USB sticks, transistor radios, and DVDs into the heavily controlled country.
While activists in South Korea eventually ran into issues with state authorities, Women on Waves claims that its demonstration is legal, citing that “no authorization is required under Polish or German law.”
We’ll just have to wait until Saturday to find out.
Editors note: This article was edited to update information about European laws and North Korea.