Midwives lose right to desist from abortions
Archbishop Mario Conti has spoken out in response to a court ruling whereby two senior midwives from Glasgow have lost their battle not to assist in abortions.
In a judgment handed down today from the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Lady Smith ruled that the midwives must accept the decision of their hospital management to oversee other midwives who are performing abortions on the labour ward.
The midwives in the case, Miss Mary Doogan and Mrs Connie Wood, argued that they had never been required to supervise abortion procedures in the past, and that the hospital was asking them to be morally, medically and legally responsible for abortions.
Although they said that this conflicted with their profound objection to abortions, Lady Smith said that the midwives involved were not protected by the conscience clause of the Abortion Act.
Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said he was “deeply concerned” by today’s Court of Session ruling. He said: “I view this judgement with deep concern. I wish to put on record my admiration for the courage of the midwives who have, at very great cost to themselves, fought to uphold the right to follow one’s conscience. It is fundamental to the functioning of society that all citizens act in accordance with an informed conscience.
“Any law or judgement which fails to recognise this contradicts that most basic freedom and duty which we all have as human beings, namely to follow our conscience and act accordingly.” He said that any “assault on this principle undermines the very basis of the law itself and society’s moral cohesion, which the law should seek to guarantee.”
The Society for Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) also expressed their disappointment with the decision.
Paul Tully, general secretary of SPUC said: “We are very disappointed by the judgment. SPUC has supported the midwives in bringing their case, and will now be considering their further legal options with them.”