The Abortion Issue in British Headlines

January 20th, 2012
The Abortion Issue in British Headlines

Two Roman Catholic midwives have decided to take action over what they call a violation of their human rights. They believe they have the right to refuse to help women wanting an abortion.

The midwives – Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood believe they had been put in an impossible position, when the local NHS Trust Hospital in Glasgow decided to move women in the gynaecology department, who were being given an abortion, to the Labour wards, where the two ladies worked.

The two women are devout Roman Catholics and were originally given assurances by their bosses that they would never be asked to get involved in any abortion case. However, the reorganisation has now changed all this.

The two midwives said they were forced to start formal grievance procedures against the hospital board. They had originally asked the board to confirm they would not be required to supervise or delegate or take part in anything that they considered a violation of their religious beliefs. However, the hospital board turned down their application. This rejection forced the women to take legal action.

The Trust for its part insists they have acted lawfully throughout and reject all accusations made against them.

This particular issue is causing much consternation with many parties on both sides of the abortion debate. On the one hand, a person’s religious beliefs are considered valid. However, even those who are against abortion per se, suggest that the two midwives’ religion has no place in a hospital, where a duty of care (whatever the circumstances) is paramount.

No doubt this argument will continue for some time. It will be interesting to see what ruling is given once the legal action runs its course. In theory, it could have devastating consequences. On the other hand it could confirm the right of every woman irrespective of others’ views to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

 

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