On Saturday, a small drone will take off from Germany to Poland in an unconventional attempt to highlight the lack of women's reproductive rights in the Eastern European country. The drone will carry abortion pills into Poland this weekend in a campaign organized by a coalition of women's rights groups.
Aboard the "abortion drone" are World Health Organization-approved drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, which women's groups in Poland will collect then distribute to those who need them. The campaign is a partnership between Women on Waves, a nonprofit Netherlands organization; Cocia Basia, a Berlin-based abortion support group for Polish women; and Feminteka Foundation from Warsaw.
A strict Roman Catholic country, Poland has one of the harshest abortion laws in Europe. It is a crime to terminate pregnancies in Poland, unless there is proof of rape or incest, the mother's life is in danger or there is severe fetal abnormality. Even then, access to abortion is extremely limited for those who fall under those exceptions.
According to a press release from Women of Waves, the campaign is meant to highlight the severity of Poland's lack of reproductive rights:
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.
The dramatic campaign's ultimate goal is to spark a discussion about Poland's limited abortion rights that endanger many women's lives. Women on Waves founder Rebecca Gomperts is no stranger to creative solutions to provide women with safe reproductive care. With Women on Waves, Gomperts built an abortion clinic on a ship, registered it in Netherlands and, under the jurisdiction of Dutch laws on international waters, traveled to other countries to perform abortions where it is illegal.
A documentary film about Gomperts and Women on Waves called Vessel has been released, and is available for purchase on iTunes or streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.