A Dutch “pro-choice” doctor launched two nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing abortions to women who live in countries where the practice is illegal. The latest organization finds women “in need” online, and sends them abortion pills into foreign countries by drone.
Rebecca Gompert founded Women on Waves in 1999, using a boat as a mobile clinic to carry out non-surgical abortion “services” in international waters. In such waters, Dutch laws come into effect aboard ship, making abortion practices legal. The ship has sailed across the world, from Morocco to Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
To keep up with increased demand, Gompert founded Women on Web in 2005, to provide abortions online. She primarily sends pills to countries where abortion is not legal. “We started with the abortion ship but as a result we got a lot of emails from women all over the world asking for help,” the woman told NBC News.
She has gotten into legal trouble in the past, however. The Dutch Ministry of Health has attempted to investigate and block the Women on Waves ship, and German police officers have intercepted controllers for the drones flying abortion pills into Poland.
Women on Web uses two pills in conjunction to bring about an abortion: Mifepristone, also known as RU-486; and misoprostol. These drugs have a 95 percent effectiveness rate during the first 50 days of pregnancy.
Britain’s The Daily Mail reported that Gompert’s organization’s help desk answers more than 100,000 emails from women all over the world and they have used drones to smuggle illegal abortion pills across borders.
Some European countries, particularly Poland and Ireland, are notorious for abortion restrictions. In Poland, abortion is illegal except in cases of danger to the woman’s life or health, or if the pregnancy results from a criminal act, or if the fetus is malformed. In Ireland, abortion is illegal unless it is the direct result of a medical intervention to save the life of the mother.
The law is not much different in Northern Ireland, where just last month, a court gave a woman a three-month prison sentence for taking abortion pills.