By Sarah Mac Donald - 07 July, 2015
“Every other day, there seems to be a new set piece stunt from a different pro-choice group, all with the goal of pushing for more abortion in Ireland.”
The Pro Life Campaign has described plans by the pro-abortion Dutch group, Women on Waves, to target Ireland with a drone delivery of abortion pills as “a cheap publicity stunt”.
Responding to Women on Waves’ announcement that they will target Ireland following their delivery of abortion pills to Poland last week by drone, spokeswoman for the Pro Life Campaign, Cora Sherlock, said the proposal showed an “utter disregard for women’s health” and was aimed at creating hysteria.
Dr Rebecca Gomperts, founder and director of Women on Waves, the organisation which sent the drone to Poland, and which also operates a boat that carries out abortions off the coast of countries, told Newsweek magazine that they plan to use the drone to deliver to Ireland and Argentina.
However, she acknowledged that the legal implications of sending a drone to women in Ireland, who can be prosecuted for taking the abortion pill, would need to be addressed.
Cora Sherlock, deputy chairperson of the Pro Life Campaign, described the proposed distributing of abortion medication by drone was “very irresponsible” and she accused Women on Waves of prioritising campaigning over the safety and health of women.
She highlighted that the drone drop wouldn’t provide any aftercare for the women who take the pills or for the severe negative psychological side effects some women suffer post abortion.
It is not the first time Women on Waves have threatened to flout Irish laws. In 2001, they sailed their boat from the Netherlands to Ireland bringing with them a supply of the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol.
However, they were thwarted by the Irish port authorities which required them to have an Irish passenger license in order to board any passengers and so the project had to be abandoned.
The plan to drop abortion pills into Ireland by drone may result in prosecutions the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the state agency which regulates medicines, has said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, a spokeswoman for the HPRA said “mail order supply of prescription medicines is prohibited. This applies regardless of the nature of the medicine concerned”.
The scenario mapped out by Women on Waves appeared to fall within the definition of supply by mail order as defined in the “Prescription Regulations” the HPRA said.
The spokeswoman warned that the HPRA, in cooperation with the Revenue’s Customs Service, the Gardaí and other international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, “actively monitors the supply of prescription and illicit medicines to Ireland”.
Enforcement powers aimed at tackling this include “seizing the product” and “taking prosecutions”.
In a statement, the Pro Life Campaign said, “Every other day, there seems to be a new set piece stunt from a different pro-choice group, all with the goal of pushing for more abortion in Ireland.”
“Women on Waves claim they have the best interests of women at heart but they consistently ignore the devastating after effects of abortion for many women and show zero regard for the lives of unborn babies throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.”
“There is nothing compassionate or inclusive about such a stance.”
Cora Sherlock said that while Women on Waves and founder Dr Rebecca Gomperts are “zealous promoters of unrestricted access to abortion” they have “nothing to say to women who deeply regret their abortions”.
“It’s easy to point a finger at a country like Ireland if you are only prepared to engage in one aspect of the debate while ignoring all the human rights abuses that come with legalised abortion.”