Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scottish Court Rules against Midwives' Abortion Objecting; Cannot Object to Managing Staff Doing Abortions

The Catholic News website reports today (March 4, 2012) that a Scottish court ruled that two senior Catholic midwives have no right to conscientiously object to overseeing staff involved in late-term abortions in a state-run hospital.

The Court of Session -- Scotland's supreme civil court -- ruled that Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, could not invoke the conscience clause of the 1967 Abortion Act to opt out of their duties at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital because they were not directly involved in performing the abortions.

The pair -- who worked as labor ward coordinators -- had been obliged to delegate, supervise, or support staff involved in performing up to three late-term abortions a week. They claimed that such indirect involvement made them culpable in procedures they found to be abhorrent.

But Lady Anne Smith -- the judge -- said in a February 29 ruling that the conscience opt-out of the 1967 act was qualified, adding that nothing the midwifery nurses "have to do as part of their duties terminates a woman's pregnancy."