Drone to be used to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland

A Generic Photo of a drone in a city. See PA Feature INTERNET Drones. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERNET Drones.

A Generic Photo of a drone in a city. See PA Feature INTERNET Drones. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERNET Drones.

Pro-choice campaigners are planning to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland using a drone.

The stunt, described as an act of solidarity, is to highlight the strict laws around terminations that exist on both sides of the Irish border.

A number of groups, Alliance For Choice; Rosa; Labour Alternative and Women On Waves which staged a similar flight from Germany into Poland, have collaborated on the issue and claim no laws are being broken.

In a statement: “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 drone flight will start at Omeath in Co Louth and land close to Narrow Water at about 10am.

The drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol can be taken up to nine weeks into a pregnancy and have been approved for use by the World Health Organisation since 2005.

It is understood just one of the pills will be swallowed by some of the protesters who are not pregnant.

Courtney Robinson from Labour Alternative, who is among those taking the tablets, said: “The reason we are doing this is to highlight that these pills are available to women who are not able to travel outside of Northern Ireland for an abortion.

“I have no concerns. I know the pills are safe.

“As long as politicians in Stormont and the Dail continue to ignore human rights we will continue to defy the law.”

In Northern Ireland, the maximum penalty for the crime of administering a drug to induce miscarriage under the relevant law, namely the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, is life imprisonment.

In April a 21-year-old woman was handed a suspended sentence by a judge in Belfast after she bought drugs on the internet to induce a miscarriage because she could not afford to fly to England.

In the Irish Republic, the offence of procuring an abortion carries a potential 14-year jail term.

Activists are also planning to stage a picket outside Belfast High Court where a ruling which found the law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with human rights legislation is being appealed.

Meanwhile, pro-life campaigners have vowed to do all in their power to stop the drone.