Dutch campaigners fly abortion pills into Poland

  • Published
A drone carrying abortion pills that took off from Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany lands in Slubice, Poland, on SaturdayImage source, EPA
Image caption,
The drone flew the pills into Poland, where they were immediately taken by two Polish women

Dutch campaigners have used a drone to fly abortion pills into Poland.

The group, Women on Waves, flew the aircraft from Germany to highlight Poland's restrictive laws against terminating pregnancies.

Waiting for the drone on the other side were two Polish women who took the pills, used to induce a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy.

Abortion was legal in Poland in the Communist era, but outlawed in most cases in 1993.

It is only permitted in cases of rape or incest, in cases of irreversible foetal malformation, or if the mother's life is at risk.

The drone took off from the town of Frankfurt an der Oder and flew across the River Oder to the Polish border town of Slubice.

"After the drones left, the German police tried to intervene but the drone pilots were able to safely land the drones at the Polish side," Women on Waves said in an online statement.

"The German police confiscated the drone controllers and personal iPads.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The packets of pills can be seen taped to the sides of the drone

"They pressed criminal charges but it is totally unclear on what grounds. The medicines were provided on prescription by a doctor and both Poland and Germany are part of Schengen" - the zone of 26 European countries within which internal borders have been abolished.

Women on Waves has sent abortion boats to countries with strict abortion laws - including Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Poland - sparking protests from anti-abortion groups.

The resurgent Catholic Church supported the move in 1993 to outlaw terminations in most cases, reports the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw.

The latest operation has been described by the conservative Catholic daily Nasz Dziennik as a "drone of death", reported AFP news agency

"During the Nazi occupation Germany proposed destroying Poland by promoting abortion and contraception," the newspaper reportedly wrote.

But Women on Waves argues that Poland's restrictive laws simply drive women into undertaking risky back-street abortions, and that even women who are legally entitled to end their pregnancies are sometimes refused treatment by doctors and hospitals.