By Dave Andrusko
Yesterday Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon provided an in-depth report on the “Abortion Drone” which took off from Germany and landed in Poland.
There remains a great deal of uncertainty, not only about what laws are in play in Poland and Germany; about whether any charges will be pressed for bringing chemical abortifacients into Poland; and also about where else (such as Ireland) “Women on Waves” will try providing the two drugs that women could use for a “DIY” [Do It Yourself] abortion.
Here’s what appears to be clear.
First, the distance traveled June 27 was very short — from Frankfurt an den Oder across the Oder river border separating Germany and Poland –basically a sight-of-vision trip.
The video and pictures appear to show two women removing (and we are told by reporters actually taking) the packages of pills, containing mifepristone (RU-486) and a prostaglandin (misoprostol), which were “delivered” to women in Slubice, where abortion laws are highly protective.
Likely for tactical reasons, the two Polish women were not pregnant (according to Agence France-Presse). They swallowed the pills as part of a “symbolic” stunt organized by Women on Waves to draw attention to (itself and) Poland’s abortion policies.
“It’s a symbolic operation designed to show that just a few kilometres [between the take-off and the landing site] can be a gulf in terms of respect for women’s rights, reproductive rights which are human rights,” said Jula Gaweda, a spokesperson for Feminoteka, one of the local groups responsible for the event.
( Women on Waves, the main organizer, is the same organization that brought us the “abortion ship,” abortion hotlines where women can learn how to self-abort, and the related “I need an abortion” website where women can order abortifacients responsible for this latest misuse of technology. They insist that these chemical abortifacients can be taken “without medical supervision” for pregnancies of less than nine weeks.)
But there is much more that is unclear. For example, according to Newsweek’s European edition, German police arrived and confiscated the pilot’s controllers and iPad once the drone landed in Poland. No one was arrested in Germany. However Eilish O’Gara reported today
Women on Waves say German authorities are now seeking to press criminal charges against those involved in the drone’s first flight, but add that it is “totally unclear on what grounds they can take legal action”.
Maybe, to the contrary, it’s totally clear. Not knowing German law, I couldn’t even speculate.
In a highly sympathetic story that appeared in The Telegraph, reporter Radhika Sanghani laid out the case for the stunt’s legality.
The ‘abortion drone’ is not thought to be illegal – though it will be illegal for any Polish woman to take the pills without approval from physicians or prosecutors, and if she does not meet the country’s conditions for abortion.
[Founder and director Rebecca] Gomperts said: “There are no regulations or laws that prevent us from doing this or any that say it would be illegal.
“It’s the first time we’re doing something like this, so we don’t know what the Government’s going to do. We’re just going to see what happens.”
Though it is illegal for women in Poland to have abortions in cases that fall outside of the restrictions, such as when they feel economically unable to care for their child, or there is only a slight risk to the woman’s health, there is no punishment.
They cannot be imprisoned for their actions, though a physician who performs an abortion in violation of the law can be subjected to up to two years’ imprisonment.
So what does all that mean? Again, not knowing Polish abortion laws (or German laws about delivering drugs across national borders), if laws against abortion in Poland are honored more in the breach than in the observance, why all the Women on Waves rhetoric about how “difficult” it is to get abortions in Poland and how many women go outside the country to get abortions–beyond the usual pro-abortion bluster and propaganda?
If no physician is involved–if women secure the abortion pills whether by drone (highly unlikely) or some other way–are there no consequences for killing the unborn child? (See below.)
O’Gara suggest Women on Waves may be taking their act to Ireland. There are at least two questions.
First, where would a drone be launched?
Second, however, as Gomperts told Newsweek Europe,
the legal implications of sending a drone to women in Ireland, who can be prosecuted for taking the abortion pill themselves, will need to be addressed
But if it is illegal for women in Ireland to “take” the abortion pill themselves, given the way the sentence is written, does this imply that it is not illegal to do so in Poland? Very confusing.
We will keep track of this increasingly bizarre behavior and report back as we learn more.