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Monday, 15 December 2014

News from SPUC

Midwives who refuse to do abortions: verdict due Wednesday

London, 15 December 2014On Wednesday the Supreme Court will give its judgment in the case of two midwives who refuse to help provide abortions.

The Court has announced that judgment will be handed down in the case of midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood on 17 December at 9.45am. The midwives, from Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, have a conscientious objection to abortion. Abortions account for a very small proportion of the cases on the hospital's labour ward. The hospital has brought the appeal in an effort to ensure that all midwives working as labour ward co-ordinators can be required to oversee abortion procedures.

The hospital argues that the statutory protection of conscientious objectors in the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply to almost all of the functions of labour ward co-ordinators.

The decision will be relevant to the extent to which NHS bodies across Britain are required to recognise the moral rights of those who object to abortion. Mary and Connie are Catholics, but the Abortion Act refers to those who have a conscientious objection to abortion without reference to any religious beliefs, meaning that the judgment will be relevant to medical personnel, of all religions and none, who do not wish to take part in abortion.

Mary Doogan commented: “Connie and I became midwives to help mothers safely deliver their babies, and that is what we have always tried to do. I hope that through fighting this case we will help ensure that midwives in future are able to practice according to their conscience.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children have funded the midwives’ legal costs throughout the case.

Mary and Connie's fight to protect midwives' rights was opposed by the pro-abortion leadership of the Royal College of Midwives.

The case was heard on 11 November before Baroness Hale and Lords Wilson, Reed, Hughes and Hodge.