RC midwives to face abortion objection ruling challenge

Fri, 14 Jun 2013

Two Roman Catholic midwives with conscientious objections to abortion who won their case against the NHS may now face a further legal challenge.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has announced it will appeal Scotland’s supreme civil court ruling that Mary Doogan and Connie Wood would not have to delegate, supervise or support staff involved in abortions.

Pro-life group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) backed the midwives’ legal fight.

Disappointed

SPUC’s General Secretary Paul Tully said: “We are disappointed, particularly for Connie and Mary, as this means prolonging this lengthy case even further”.

He added: “It is also particularly disappointing considering that the appeal judgment was so clear, so comprehensive and so decisive in favour of their case.”

Judge Lady Dorrian said in her ruling in April this year: “In our view the right of conscientious objection extends not only to the actual medical or surgical termination but to the whole process of treatment given for that purpose.”

Conscientious

She added: “The right is given because it is recognised that the process of abortion is felt by many people to be morally repugnant.”

Conscientious objection is recognised in the 1967 Abortion Act.

A spokesperson for the NHS health board told The Irish Post: “It is our intention to appeal the decision of the Inner House of the Court of Session to The Supreme Court.”

Challenge

Dr Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said this next legal challenge is significant.

He said: “The outcome of the case is important because the Supreme Court is the highest court in Britain and its rulings will therefore be binding on all lower courts and will have repercussions not just for nurses but also for doctors and all other healthcare staff.”

He described the two midwives as “courageous”, having been “victimised by their health authority” and deserving of support.

This content requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download Adobe Flash Player here.