Baby-dropping storks will be replaced by an abortion pill-dropping drone this weekend in a move that's less social revolution and more just a badass use of technology.
Women on Waves, an international advocacy group, has arranged for a drone to fly from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, to Slubice, Poland—less than a mile away. Notably, abortions are legal in Germany, but have been heavily restricted in Poland since 1993.
This event is a carefully orchestrated attempt to bring attention to Poland's reproductive laws, which limit legal abortions to victims of rape or incest, or to situations in which the mother's health is seriously threatened or the fetus is severely imperiled. Not feeling economically secure enough to raise a child? Too bad.
While abortion is available "on request" for women in many European countries, Poland and Ireland maintain strict conditions for abortions (and in Malta they're outlawed across the board). Ireland's abortion laws have been well-documented in the past year, so Women on Waves decided to focus on Poland to raise awareness.
The drone will arrive bearing two to five sets of the abortion pill combo that includes Mifepristone and Misoprostol. They will be received by a handful of bold women seeking abortions who have coordinated with the advocacy group ahead of time, Women on Waves founder and director Rebecca Gomperts told Fusion in an email—along with a few local advocacy groups offering support. It's worth noting that these pills can only be taken for pregnancies of up to nine weeks, according to the World Health Organization.
The legality of this effort is a little murky. Gomperts believes flying the drone itself is legal, as it will meet regulations spelled out in still-nascent international drone laws. These regulations include meeting the proper weight limit (under 11 pounds), not being used for a commercial purpose, staying within eyesight of the person flying it, and staying out of any controlled airspace.
But what about the women who use the drone-delivered pills? Well, technically, it's illegal for them to take them—however, pregnant women who pursue illegal abortions in Poland don't face any punishment, according to Women on Waves. Clinicians who perform them do, however. So where will that leave the women's group advocates on the receiving end of the drone packages? Since they won't actually be distributing the medicine, they should also be in the clear, Gomperts said.
If you're reading this in America, we don't have to point out that abortion laws are quickly being chipped away in this country, so if the stunt goes off successfully, perhaps we've found a patriotic new use for your drone other than fireworks videos this Fourth of July.
Cleo Stiller is a digital producer covering the intersections of sex, tech and culture. Words to live by: get your money's worth.