Pro-choice activists have successfully used a drone to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland.
Shortly after the tiny aircraft landed Tuesday morning, two women took the tablets as an “act of defiance.” Uniformed police spoke with the organizers and filmed the drone landing but did not otherwise intervene.
“We are here to say we are going to defy the law in helping women obtain these pills and we are going to…stand in solidarity with all women who want to have an abortion and have the right to do so in Northern Ireland,” Courtney Robinson, one of the two women, told The Guardian.
A coalition of pro-choice groups organized the drone flight, which started at Omeath in County Louth and landed just a short distance away at Narrow Water, in Northern Ireland.
The act aims to highlight the strict laws in Northern Ireland, which has a near-total ban on abortion and inflicts one of the harshest criminal penalties in all of Europe for the procedure — life imprisonment. The Irish Republic is slightly more lenient, with a maximum jail term of 14 years.
Lucy Simpson, another woman who took the tablets, told the Guardian legal reform is urgent. “The law is archaic,” she said. “We think it should be changed radically and we can’t really wait any longer.”
The tablets, which contained the drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol, can be taken up to nine weeks into a pregnancy and have been approved by the World Health Organization since 2005.
When a 21-year-old woman attempted to buy similar pills online in April, she was prosecuted and given a suspended sentence by a judge in Belfast.
In order to obtain abortions in most cases, Northern Irish women must travel to England or other regions in the United Kingdom, where abortion has been legal since 1967.
“As long as politicians in Stormont and the Dail [the Irish parliament] continue to ignore human rights, we will continue our campaign,” Robinson told The Guardian.
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