Abortion robots confiscated by police for distributing pills at Belfast protest

'They confiscated one robot but they didn't know there was another one'

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 05 June 2018 12:15 BST
Northern Irish women protesting anti-abortion laws take illegal termination pills in front of police

Two robots delivering abortion pills at a protest in Belfast have been confiscated by police.

The robots were part of an initiative by the group Women on Waves, who claimed that the country's "mediaeval" anti-abortion laws were being broken because the so-called abortion robots were being operated from the Netherlands.

"We try to find legal loopholes to draw attention to laws that violate women's rights," Rebecca Gomperts, a spokesperson for Women on Waves, told The Independent.

"We've done it before with a ship and a drone to help women who cannot legally get an abortion in their country."

One of the small remote controlled vehicles was seized by police before the protest, however a second was deployed after it was hidden by the protestors.

Protestors proceeded to take the termination pills before police attempted to take one of the women aside for questioning.

"Police told us they would confiscate the robot, citing controlled substances," Ms Gomperts said.

"They confiscated one but they didn't know we had another one. They finally confiscated the second one, but only after it had done its job of delivering the pills."

Ms Gomperts said they would try to get the robots back, adding: "The police have no legal reason to take them."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said on Wednesday evening that it would be investigating any suspected criminal offences at the protest.

"Offences of procurement of an abortion are outlined in Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1862 and Child Destruction Sect 25 Criminal Justice Act," PSNI detective chief superintendent Tim Mairs, told The Belfast Telegraph.

"These offences can reasonably be suspected in circumstances where individuals receive or procure prescription medications which are known to be used or advertised as suitable for inducing an abortion. Ingesting such drugs when pregnant or ordering and providing them to another person who is pregnant may constitute a criminal offence."

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