Drones are now serving a new purpose: to deliver abortion pills to countries where the practice is illegal. Last June, reproductive rights activists successfully arranged for these “abortion drones” to be flown into conservative Northern Ireland and to deliver the medication to pregnant women who carry very few alternatives. The involved organizations claim that the pills are completely safe up to the 9th week of pregnancy, but are not provided or permitted by the North Ireland government.
The drone was met by the coalition of organizing pro-choice groups where two non-pregnant woman took the abortion-inducing pills on site. Rita Harrold, one of the effort’s organizers, told The Guardian:
The act was to demonstrate [the pills’] safety and to make a plea for reproductive rights. The Abortion drone will mark the different reality for Irish women to access safe abortion services compared to women in other European countries where abortion is legal”
The different laws in both countries allow for a drone to transport the pills legally from the South to the North.
This act was inspired to be a tribute to a 19-year-old North Irish woman, who had been given a suspended sentence for illegally inducing a miscarriage. The woman could not afford to travel to a country where abortions were legal, so instead, she bought pills online.
The defence barrister representing the 19-year-old woman told the judge that had his client lived in any other region of the UK, she would “not have found herself before the courts.” The polar regulations pertaining to her specific physical location is where much of the controversy is coming from.
Northern Ireland: Anal About Abortions
Lucy Simpson, who took one of the pills on site told Salon:
The law is archaic. We are governed in Northern Ireland by an Act which is dated 1861, which is in the dark ages, it’s like when dinosaurs were on earth. We think it should be changed radically and we can’t really wait any longer”
The answer roots from a long history of religious belief, politics, and public option that can be explored on BBC’s site. Nevertheless, it is unjust; Belfast’s High Court is currently being challenged for their law which bans abortion in cases of rape, incest, or fatal foetal–which, yes, is incompatible with human rights legislation.
10 Months Later
The organizing team described their peaceful actions as:
an act of solidarity aimed at highlighting the strict abortion laws that exist on both sides of the Irish border”
which was definitely achieved. The act attracted global attention, and efforts have been mirrored ever since. The symbolic demonstration has started a new solidarity trend, successfully repeated in Poland shortly after. This movement has the potential to inspire change and provide resources for women across the globe.