Defying the law

Pro-choice groups fly abortion pills into Northern Island using drone

A protest in Belfast last April in support of a 21-year-old woman who was prosecuted after buying drugs on the internet to induce a miscarriage. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Pro-choice groups used a drone to deliver abortion pills to women in Northern Ireland this week, flying the unmanned aircraft from Omeath in the Republic of Ireland a short ways across the border to Narrow Water Castle, Northern Ireland.

“We are here to say we are going to defy the law in helping women obtain these pills and we are going to work to make law unworkable,” said one of the recipients of the pills, Courtney Robinson, 18, from Belfast.

“The law is archaic,” added another pill recipient, Lucy Simpson, from Belfast. “We are governed in Northern Ireland by an act which is dated 1861 — we think it should be changed radically and we can’t really wait any longer.” In Northern Ireland, administering a drug to induce miscarriage is punishable with life imprisonment according to the relevant law — the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.

The pro-choice groups involved in the stunt said that no laws were broken, and that, in addition to delivering pills, the event was intended to “mark the different reality for Irish women [accessing] safe abortion services compared with women in other European countries where abortion is legal.” Policemen at the drone’s landing site spoke with organizers and filmed the proceedings, but the medication, which had been prescribed by a doctor, was not confiscated.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Related:

U.N. says Ireland’s abortion ban violated pregnant woman’s human rights

Women in Northern Ireland surrender to police for accepting abortion pills in the mail

Women who miscarry in Northern Ireland could face abortion inquiries, warns trade union

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