Organizers said the move was intended as a show of solidarity
between women facing some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.
In Ireland and Northern Ireland, abortion is permitted if the
mother's life is in danger. In Northern Ireland, it is also allowed
if there is a permanent or serious risk to a woman's mental or
But in the rest of Britain, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks into
pregnancy and can be carried out at a later stage if the mother's
life is at risk or if there are indications the baby will suffer a
"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," pro-choice groups behind the
protest said in a statement.
The drone drop, planned for next Tuesday, comes two months after a
court in Belfast, Northern Ireland, handed a suspended prison
sentence to a woman who bought abortion drugs online.
Campaigners have long called for a relaxing of the abortion laws in
Northern Ireland, where the maximum penalty for inducing an abortion
is life imprisonment.
In Ireland, a traditionally Catholic country, a complete ban on
terminating a pregnancy was lifted in 2013 after large street
protests from both sides.
In June a U.N. panel ruled that Ireland's regulations subjected
women to discriminatory, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
after a woman complained she was denied treatment and forced to
choose between carrying her baby with a fatal congenital defect to
term and going abroad for an abortion.
[to top of second column]
Campaigners said the drone, scheduled to fly over the Newry River,
will drop abortion pills which a number of non-pregnant women are
expected to take. Organizers said consuming abortion pills was legal
unless they were taken for the purposes of a termination.
"The purpose of taking the pills is to show they are safe because in
the North (Northern Ireland) there is a lot of scaremongering around
the issue," said Courtney Robinson, a spokeswoman for Labour
Alternative, one of the four pro-choice groups involved in the
The protest is the second of its kind as Women on Waves delivered
abortion pills from Germany to Poland in June last year.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Katie
Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable
arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's
rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.