January date for Catholic midwives appeal in abortion case

Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood took their case to the Court of Session Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood took their case to the Court of Session

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Two Roman Catholic midwives who lost a legal battle to avoid taking part in abortion procedures are to have their appeal heard in January next year.

Midwifery sisters Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, said being forced to supervise staff taking part in abortions violated their human rights.

But a judge at the Court of Session ruled the midwives did not have direct involvement in terminating pregnancies.

Their appeal will be heard by three judges at the Court of Session.

Ms Doogan, from Garrowhill in Glasgow, and Mrs Wood, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, both object on religious grounds to participating in abortions and took their employer, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, to court.

The midwifery sisters have a right of conscientious objection and challenged whether the health board was entitled to require them to delegate, supervise and support staff in the work.

'Appropriate respect'

Following a judicial review in February, judge Lady Smith ruled against the women at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

She said they were protected from any direct involvement with the procedure to which they object.

Ms Doogan and Mrs Wood had worked as labour ward co-ordinators at the Southern General Hospital in the city.

They now plan to appeal Lady Smith's ruling at the Court of Session in January.

Lord Menzies was told during a brief procedural hearing on Friday that counsel expected to complete the appeal in two days.

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