What we do
Campaigns & Events
Abortion in N. Ireland
"I need help..."
Make a Donation
Find us on Facebook
19 / 08 / 2011 - UK nurses win battle not to perform abortions
A British hospital that tried to force two Catholic nurses to participate in abortions has backed down after their lawyer cited equality legislation in their defence.
The two nurses, who are Filipinos, objected to being placed on duty at a weekly abortion clinic in a busy central London hospital. They were instructed to hand out abortifacients to women. The two sought the advice of the Thomas More Legal Centre, which specialises in legal cases involving religious freedom.
Neil Addison, a barrister who heads up the Centre, told the hospital that section four of the 1967 Abortion Act contains a right to conscientious objection for health professionals. He further told them that the nurses' belief in the sanctity of life was a philosophical belief protected under the Equality Act, which meant that any attempt to force them to participate in the abortion clinic or to suggest to them that such refusal would harm their career would be illegal under the Act.
The hospital responded by suggesting that the nurses would be given tasks at the abortion clinic which would not involve handing out abortifacients. Mr Addison told the hospital that this would still mean the nurses were “morally complicit” in the provision of abortion. The hospital then allocated the nurses to duties elsewhere.
Mr Addison said that, since the courts had previously accepted that belief in global warming was protected under the Act, he saw no reason “why a pro-life belief should not be equally protected.” He said the Equality Act expressly prohibits the punishment of conscientious objectors.
He said, “The use of the Equality Act is, I believe, very significant for doctors and nurses who are increasingly being pressured to participate in abortion, in particular these new forms of abortions induced through pills. Now they are not only protected under section four of the Abortion Act but they are also protected from harassment, victimisation or discrimination because of their pro-life stand.”
He said that it is important to understand that the Act does not require a conscientious objection to be religiously based. He added that the Thomas More Legal Centre would be happy to hear from other medical professionals being pressured to participate in abortions.
Source: Tom O'Gorman - CiNews