BY A STAFF REPORTER
AN 0 TH ER hospital has been forced to halt abortions because nurses have exercised their rights of conscience and refused to co-operate in the operation. Birch Hill Hospital at Rochdale, Lancashire, has been forced to stop admitting any more patients for therapeutic abortions
A spokesman for the 730bed hospital said that the future position of the hospital concerning abortions was still under discussion. The hospital is the only one in Rochdale with maternity facilities.
Fr. J. A. Byrne, national chaplain to the Catholic Nurses Guild, said that in most cases where hospitals had been forced to stop abortions the pressure had come from non-Catholic nurses exercising their rights of conscience.
In the case of Catholic nurses it was customary for hospital authorities to refrain from asking them to take part in abortions, thus avoiding a collision course.
DIFFICULT POSITION He said that the position of a Catholic nurse was a difficult one, as the morality of taking part in an abortion could depend on the degree of involvement,
"I am delighted to hear about these non-Catholics making a stand, and we will give them every support. If enough people make enough noise about the situation we may be able to get the law altered. I wilt say that Catholic nurses are fed up with the number of abortions they have to see, and they are near boiling point:' Fr. Byrne said.
Last week a public meeting arranged by the Knights of St. Columba, at Harold Hill, Romford, Essex, passed three resolutions concerning the rights of nurses' conscience in the case of assisting at abortions.
It urged that the government extend the conscience clause so as to exempt nurses completely from taking part in abortion operations, that the onus of proving the state of conscience be upon the hospital and not the nurse, and that nurses invoking their rights of conscience should not suffer professionally nor have disciplinary action taken against them.
Resistance urged in Rhodesia
CATHOLIC Bishop Donald Lamont. of Umtali. Rhodesia, has urged Africans to form a movement of passive resistance against the Smith regime.
Speaking in Geneva, where he was on a private visit after having talks at the Vatican, he said that the Africans would have to overcome their terrible apathy and penetrate the mentality of the Smith regime.
"Were they to organise themselves in the manner of Cihandi, in other words passive resistance", they would be able to oust the present Rhodesian leaders in a very short time, the Bishop said.
Bishop Lamont criticised sharply the planned Land Tennure Act, under which whites will not be able to have Africans in their homes, and which will ban them from white church hospitals.
He said that he could not accept a situation in which he would face i tine of £500 or a year's imprisonment for having an African friend in his home.
Calling on professional people all over the world to take a stand against the Salisbury Government, he thought that any constitutional lawyer of repute would immediately reject the Rhodesian constitution.
Apostolic N u ncio for Ivory Coast
'THE Vatican and the Ivory -ICoast. West Africa, have decided to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, the Vatican announced last week. An Apostolic Nuncio will be sent to Abidjan and an Ivory Coast Ambassador to the Vatican.
Union bill opposed by bishops
THE VOICE of Spanish A Catholic Bishops joined almost open criticism against a draft law that aims to establish the Franco regime's trade union system, according to an episcopal statement released this week.
The Episcopal Commission for a Social Apostolate criticised the Bill, now being debated in the Cortes (parliament), for lacking the basic trade union principles of "freedom, independence and representation."
The church's opposition to the state controlled union movement followed an earlier attempt this month by a handful of elected parliamentarians to have the bill rejected.
Their bid failed in the Cortes, where 80 per cent of the representatives a r e handpicked by Franco appro\ ed organisations.
1 he statement was spurred by the request of several bishops who demanded a church study of the proposed taw.