BY Ian Dunn | April 24 | comments icon 4 COMMENTS     print icon print


Glasgow archbishop hails ruling for midwives as victory for freedom of conscience

The Court of Session in Edinburgh’s ruling that two Scottish Catholic midwives cannot be forced to supervise abortions is being hailed as a landmark victory for religious freedom.

Archbishop Philip Tartgalia of Glasgow, who is currently in Rome, said: “Today’s decision by the Appeal Judges is a victory for freedom of conscience and for common sense.”

Mary Doogan, 58, and Concepta Wood, 52, had their original case against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) last year.

Lady Dorrian, sitting with Lord Mackay of Drumadoon and Lord McEwan, ruled on Wednesday the midwives’ right to conscientious objection means they can refuse to delegate, supervise or support staff involved in abortions.

“In our view the right of conscientious objection extends not only to the actual medical or surgical termination but to the whole process of treatment given for that purpose,” the ruling said. “The right is given because it is recognised that the process of abortion is felt by many people to be morally repugnant. The right of conscientious objection is given out of respect for those convictions and not for any other reason. It is in keeping with the reason for the exemption that the wide interpretation which we favour should be given to it.”

In a statement Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire—who were employed as labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow—said they were ‘absolutely delighted’ at the ruling.

Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) who underwrote the nurses legal costs, said the verdict was a tribute to the midwives ‘tenacity and deep sense of professionalism.’


Comments - 4 Responses

  1. Tony Cassidy says:

    terrific news, delighted for Mary and Connie who have been through very difficult times due to all of this – 2 HEROES who have just been trying to do their jobs, like any other normal person, helping families to deliver their babies in a safe and healthy manner – this should be front page news in the mainstream media – fantastic, delighted

  2. Mae Holland says:

    Fantastic news. Well done ladies. Restore some of my hope in Scottish politics. Thank God someone has some sense.!!!

  3. claire o'neill says:


  4. mark says:

    We regard Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood as our HEROES… HEROES TO INSPIRE US ALL.
    Christians, especially Catholics, are under increasing pressure from secular powers all over the world. You are in our prayers. We must pray for each other. We must all remain cool-headed and be the example to others that Christ would have us be. It takes courage under fire. Good on you girls!!!

Leave a Reply

latest news

Families are the net for fishers of men, Pope says

October 7th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

In this morning’s general audience address, the Holy Father said...

Pluscarden Abbey to be re-dedicated

October 6th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Monks extend invitation to Mass on November 5 with Bishop...

Synod of sympathy, not surprises

October 6th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

First few days of the Synod on the Family set...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel pays tribute to former parish priest Fr Eddie McGhee

October 2nd, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Fr Eddie McGhee returned to the parish of Our Lady...

Social media

Latest edition


exclusively in the paper

  • Archbishop Philip Tartaglia celebrates Red Mass for legal profession at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh
  • Archbishop Leo Cushley joins St Marie’s in Kirkcaldy for the parish’s 150th celebrations
  • Glasgow Council reverses it decision to increase distance for pupils to qualify for free transport to secondary school.
  • Interview with Frank McAveety, new leader of Glasgow City Council.

Previous editions

Previous editions of the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper are only available to subscribed Members. To download previous editions of the paper, please subscribe.

note: registered members only.

Read the SCO