March 12, 2012

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 a Glasgow hospital because they were not directly involved in performing the abortions.

The pair, who worked as labour 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 the judge said in a Feb. 29 ruling that conscience rights are limited, adding that nothing the midwifery nurses “have to do as part of their duties terminates a woman’s pregnancy.”