UK hospital backs down after forcing Christian nurses to commit abortions

"There is in general in Britain an increasing inability to understand let alone respect conscience and I fear that is going to get worse,” said Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre.
Mon Aug 15, 2011 - 2:22 pm EST

LONDON, U.K., August 15, 2011 ( – A hospital in London that recently attempted to force two Christian nurses to commit abortions has backed down after legal threats.

The Roman Catholic nurses were assigned to work at an abortion facility run by the hospital that commits medical abortions with the drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol on a weekly basis.

The nurses, who wish to remain unidentified, objected when they became aware that they were participating in abortions, but were told they had no choice.  “What would happen if we allowed all the Christian nurses to refuse?” said one of the hospital managers, according to the nurses.

They then brought their concerns to the hospital’s Catholic chaplain who connected them with Neil Addison, National Director of the Thomas More Legal Centre.

The Centre advised the hospital that they were in clear violation of a conscientious objection provision in Britain’s 1967 Abortion Act.  The Centre also argued that the hospital was violating the controversial 2010 Equality Act on the basis that their belief that life begins at conception is protected as a philosophical belief.

The hospital then tried to have the nurses continue working at the abortion facility without requiring them to administer the abortion drugs. But Addison wrote again saying the new proposal was unacceptable because they would still be “morally complicit” in abortion, and the hospital relented.

Addison told LifeSiteNews he was surprised that the hospital “seemed unaware that the Abortion Act gave an absolute right of conscientious objection.”

“They seemed to regard it simply as a negotiating point, not a right,” he said.  “I do suspect that there is in general in Britain an increasing inability to understand let alone respect conscience and I fear that is going to get worse.”

In a press release, he said he feels “privileged” to have represented the “brave” nurses. 

“Taking the stand they did took immense moral courage and I am delighted that they have been successful,” he said.  “The Thomas More Legal Centre would be pleased to hear from any Doctors or Nurses who are finding that they are being pressured participate in Abortion and who want to have legal support in their refusal to have anything more to do with it.”

To contact the Thomas More Legal Centre, visit their website here.

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