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Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives

December 17, 2014

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled against two midwives who refused to cooperate in abortions.

Overruling the decision of an appeals court in Edinburgh, the Supreme Court ruled that although Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood were not required to participate personally in abortions, they were obliged, by their role as coordinators in a labor ward, to schedule and supervise other staff members performing the work.

Doogan and Wood said that they were “saddened and extremely disappointed” by their ruling. They observed that very few abortions are performed in their Glasgow labor ward, a fact that “could allow the accommodation of conscientious objection with minimal effort.” In light of the court’s ruling, they said, the “conscience clause” contained in the Abortion Act of 1967 has no practical meaning for senior midwives.


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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Dec. 18, 2014 8:03 AM ET USA

    We now know that the 'conscience clause' in the Abortion Act (1967) is utterly meaningless, as it was intended to be, as a sop to any Christians who objected to the proposed law. Catholic midwives are now required to 'supervise' abortions, if not actually perform them themselves. If these 'supervisors' realise that an abortionist is making a mistake, are they bound by law to intervene and show how it should be done? If so, isn't this an actual act of aborting? If not, why the 'supervision'?

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Dec. 17, 2014 9:15 PM ET USA

    Surely similar things will be happening her in the US. If we stumble into our collective response as Catholics, we will lose the battle. Where are the clear buglers?