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Christian Midwives Win Abortion Fight in Scotland

Court ruling may expand rights for conscientious objectors at British hospitals.

Catholic midwives in Scotland have won the right to abstain from all aspects of abortions, thanks to an appeals court overturning the ruling of a lower court against two Glasglow women.

The two midwives lost their previous case in a Scottish court, where they argued that their "right to conscientious objection should extend to refusing to delegate, supervise or support members of staff who were looking after women undergoing terminations."

The judge ruled that the women were only indirectly affected by the abortions because they were not performing the procedures. However, yesterday's ruling from the three-judge appeals panel found that "'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 may have "wide ramifications" for health staff who oppose abortions on religious grounds at hospitals throughout the United Kingdom, the Guardian reports.

The Glasgow Health Board now must choose whether or not to appeal the ruling, but their decision likely will take into account that Europe's top courts have been on a pro-life roll. However, Ireland recently decided to repeal its ban on abortions, defying the Irish Catholic Church.

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