U.K. Christian Health Worker Restored to Work

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January 26, 2011|6:28 pm

Margaret Forrester, 39, was suspended by her U.K. National Health Service employer just before Christmas after she mentioned in private to colleagues that she was concerned that women facing an unexpected pregnancy were not being given enough information about the potential negative effects of abortion.

She then passed on to colleagues a booklet containing stories of women who had struggled with post-abortion syndrome to broaden the advice they were giving to women considering an abortion.

Forrester was later called before her manager to explain her views and suspended for "distributing materials some people may find offensive".

On Wednesday, she was offered a better position at a different location following the intervention of the Christian Legal Center. She has accepted the position.

Forrester said she was "pleased" with the outcome, saying it was a "victory for freedom of speech."

"It was incredible that I was suspended in the first place, just because I expressed a personal opinion," she said. "I should be able to express my opinion privately without fear and act freely in good conscience. Today is a victory for freedom of speech."

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The Christian Legal Center said her suspension was evidence of increasing levels of intolerance against Christians in the public sector, even when their views are expressed in private.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and Chief Executive of the CLC, said people should be free to express their concerns over the harm of abortion to mothers privately as well as publicly.

"The level of intolerance in the public sphere, demonstrated increasingly in public sector employment, is deeply worrying," she said.

"We hope that today’s decision by the NHS will help to reverse the tide of intolerance," she said. "This is a victory for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech."

"Nobody wants to live in the kind of society where people lose their job for expressing a moderate opinion in a private conversation."

She said there was no reason why concerned health care professionals should not be allowed to read and share the booklet in question, "Forsaken," which features the personal testimonies of women from Taunton who have been through an abortion.

She said the lack of information available to women considering an abortion was "bad medical practice."

"Well known research has confirmed that abortion can be harmful to mothers and there should be freedom to express that opinion privately and publicly," she said. "Women need to be able to make a fully informed decision about having an abortion, as it will impact their lives forever."

"They need to be made aware of all of the risks, including the well documented mental health risks."

Forrester is not alone in her views. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has previously expressed concern that women considering abortion do not receive enough information and that some women suffer mental illness and depression after having the procedure.

 

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