Dutch abortion activist group launch 'abortion drone'

This past weekend, the Dutch pro-abortion activist group Women on Waves launched their first “abortion drone” to deliver chemical abortion pills into Poland.

Women on Waves, among its many pro-abortion campaigns, sails ships that “provide contraceptives, information, training, workshops, and safe and legal abortion services outside territorial waters in countries where abortion is illegal.”

In Poland, abortion is illegal with exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal handicap or terminal congenital disease, and where the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or health.  Polish law prosecutes doctors that cause the death of a mother’s unborn child, not the women who have an abortion.

The “abortion drone” was launched on Saturday from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany and flown just over the border to Słubice, where it was received by abortion activist groups and distributed to Polish women.  Women on Waves proudly reports that two women have already taken the abortion-inducing drugs to terminate their pregnancies.

Women on Waves claims that flying the drone over the border of two sovereign nations without prior authorization is within the legal bounds of German and Polish law, as the craft does not fly through controlled airspace, is not intended for commercial purposes, and weighs less than 5 kg.  That was not the understanding of German police, who, according to the abortion activist group, confiscated the drone controller and iPads.

The drone package included a supply of Mifepristone and Misoprostol pills, intended to be taken in succession.  Mifepristone is the active drug in terminating a pregnancy.  Misoprostol is used subsequently to induce labor and expel the dead fetus or embryo.  Poland recently authorized the use of a few lines of non-mifepristone morning-after pills with a physician’s prescription.

Mifepristone (sold as Mifeprex in the United States) has been documented to produce serious, sometimes fatal, side-effects in many cases.  During trials conducted by the FDA, “surgical interventions” were required in at least 7.9% of cases after the abortion drug was administered to the patient.  A post-marketing report of Mifepristone indicates over 2,200 adverse cases with the usage of the drug, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 48 severe infections, and 339 patients requiring blood transfusions.  The FDA’s medication guide for Mifeprex clearly states that the pill must be administered to the patient in a medical clinic and that the patient must report back at least twice to complete the procedure:

Treatment with Mifeprex and misoprostol for the termination of pregnancy requires three office visits by the patient… Mifeprex may be administered only in a clinic, medical office, or hospital, by or under the supervision of a physician, able to assess the gestational age of an embryo and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies.

The FDA prohibits the dispensation of Mifeprex if the patient does not have adequate access to an emergency treatment facility:

Because it is important to have access to appropriate medical care if an emergency develops, the treatment procedure is contraindicated if a patient does not have adequate access to medical facilities equipped to provide emergency treatment of incomplete abortion, blood transfusions, and emergency resuscitation during the period from the first visit until discharged by the administering physician.

The guide also states that Mifeprex can cause a woman to hemorrhage for thirty days or longer.

The abortion pills being flown into Poland will likely be self-administered, as it is illegal for a doctor to dispense the abortion drugs.  Women on Waves claims, “Usually women themselves without additional medical supervision handle a miscarriage.”  There is no guarantee that women who take the abortion cocktail will have access to suitable medical care should a complication develop.

Pew Research Center projections for 2010 estimate that 94% of Poles are Christian, and an overwhelming percentage of these are Catholic.  The Catholic Church regards abortion as a “moral evil” and “gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC 2271).  Poland is a pro-life nation.  Only 13% of Poles view abortion as morally acceptable.

By intentionally sending the abortion drugs into a country where their administration is illegal, Women on Waves and allied abortion activist groups clearly violate the integrity of Polish law.  They flout the will of the Polish people, who have freely and democratically adopted pro-life laws as a matter of policy and conscience.

Jonathan Abbamonte is a researcher with the Population Research Institute.

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