NEWS

Abortion Pill Drone Drop Stunt In Northern Ireland 'To Mark Different Reality For Irish Women'

'We will continue to defy the law.'

21/06/2016 12:01

Pro-choice campaigners are planning to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK where it remains illegal in all but extreme cases, using a drone on Tuesday. 

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.

A statement on the plan reads: "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."

Sean Gallup via Getty Images
Pro-choice campaigners are planning to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland using a drone

The drone flight was to start at Omeath in Co Louth and land close to Narrow Water - both in Northern Ireland - at around 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 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, told the Press Association: "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."

The pro-choice collective say the stunt is "protected" under the Universal Child Health Record, under freedom of expression, and will be following by a protest at the Court of Appeal in Belfast at 2.30pm.

At that time a ruling which found the law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with human rights legislation is being challenged. 

PAUL FAITH via Getty Images
Pro-choice campaigners take part in a demonstration through Belfast city centre in April 2016

In Northern Ireland a person can be sentenced to life imprisonment for administering a drug to induce miscarriage.

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.

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

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