BY Ian Dunn | August 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Catholic midwives’ appeal over abortions to be heard in January

The two Catholic midwives in Scotland who lost their court case against supervising abortion procedures are to have their appeal heard in January next year.

Midwifery sisters Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, originally claimed that being forced to supervise staff taking part in abortions violated their human rights. In February, Judge Lady Smith at the Court of Session ruled against the midwives, whose appeal will now be heard by three judges at the Court of Session.

Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, both object on religious grounds to participating in abortions and took their employer, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, to court over the issue. Both women had worked as co-ordinators on the labour ward at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow. The midwifery sisters have a right of conscientious objection and challenged whether the health board was entitled to require them to delegate, supervise and support staff in the work.

Following a judicial review in February, however, Judge Lady Smith ruled against the women at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, claiming they were sufficiently protected from any direct involvement with the procedure to which they object.

The two midwives and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which is underwriting their legal costs, dispute the ruling and now plan to appeal at the Court of Session in January.

Lord Menzies was told during a brief procedural hearing today that counsel expected to complete the appeal in two days.



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