Abortion and the Equality Act

I have to say that I didn\’t think that this would be where the two, abortion and the Equality Act, would first meet:

After receiving a letter from the centre, the hospital initially told the nurses that they would be excused from administering the abortion-inducing drugs but would have to remain working at the clinic.

The nurses’ lawyer, Neil Addison, wrote again to the hospital stating that the nurses would still be “morally complicit in abortion” if they continued to work in the clinic as nurses in any capacity. The hospital eventually conceded and the nurses were allocated to other duties.

Mr Addison, director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, argued that the NHS had wrongly denied the nurses their right as conscientious objectors not to take part in abortions, which is set out in the 1967 Abortion Act.

He also invoked the Equality Act 2010. In a move that is believed to be a legal first, Mr Addison claimed that the nurses’ belief in the sanctity of life from conception onwards was “a philosophical belief” protected under the Equality Act. Therefore any attempt to pressure them into working in the clinic would be illegal.

“This particular interpretation of the Equality Act has never, to my knowledge, been argued before,” Mr Addison said. “However since the courts have accepted that the philosophical belief in global warming is protected under equality legislation, there seems no reason why belief that human life begins at conception should not be equally protected.”

It\’s extremely difficult to see that they don\’t have a case as well.

Not having to perform or partake in abortions is expressely protected in law, under the Abortion Act itself. And if gorbal wormening is a protected belief then life at conception seems worthy of similar treatment.

And finally, it\’s really quite difficult to insist that people must kill people (by their own lights of course) in order to keep their jobs as nurses: something which is normally held to be about aiding in curing people.

And finally finally, while this seems to be about Catholic nurses the standard Islamic or Muslim view (which is very similar to the archaic Catholic view, absolutely not after the quickening at 4 months, maybe but probably not before that….the maybe and probably revolving around the reason. \”I don\’t want a child\” on the probably not side, \”I was raped by the Serbs\” on the maybe side (that being an actual fatwa)) is an important thing to consider given the number of immigrants we have working in the NHS.

4 thoughts on “Abortion and the Equality Act”

  1. The clinic was wrong to tell them to administer the drugs, and I’m amazed that anyone on site was insane enough to try and push that one through. That’s wrong under the 1967 Act.

    The 2010 Act is irrelevant, because in the specific area of abortion, conscientious objections are *already taken into account*. Mr Addison’s just using that to push media awareness of a straightforward case.

    However, there isn’t anything in either the 1967 or 2010 Acts that supports the women’s follow-up case, about being transferred to non-abortion-administering duties in the clinic. That returns them to the position of ‘aiding in curing people’.

    The other activities going on at the workplace are irrelevant, just as pharmacists can refuse to administer the morning-after pill, but can’t refuse to work on premises where the morning-after pill is irrelevant.

  2. Hmm. The problem is this. How does the courts, or the State, or what have you, decide what counts as a “belief”? It seems to be having to act in a very strange way, deciding that some things are “beliefs” and other things are just “things you believe”.

    You know, if I fervently believe in nudism, and I’m forced to wear clothes at work…? That kind of thing.

    Shouldn’t this be a matter for contracts and shit like that? What has it to do with “equality”? Let’s say I work for a company that makes apparel. And there’s an order from the Conservative Party for tee-shirts, and I say, “I am a devout socialist, this is morally repugnant, I won’t work on those tee-shirts”? How does that fit into this framework? What is a “belief”?

  3. (1) Does the “director of the Thomas More Legal Centre” recommend torturing Protestants in the comfort of your own home, and if not why not?
    (2) Is it legit to confound the question of “conscience” with “obeying the fiat of some old fart in Rome”?

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