From the UK Daily Mail:
Catholic NHS worker ‘faces sack’ after giving colleague booklet warning of abortion risks
By Vanessa Allen and Paul Bentley
22nd December 2010
A Roman Catholic health worker is facing the sack after she gave a colleague a booklet about the potential dangers of abortion.
Margaret Forrester, 39, feels she was bullied and ‘treated like a criminal’ after she handed the pro-life leaflet to a family planning worker at an NHS centre.
It warned of the physical and psychological problems suffered by five women after terminating pregnancies.
Miss Forrester said she offered the booklet during a private conversation with a colleague, because she felt the NHS did not give enough information about potential risks associated with abortion.
Uncertain future: NHS worker Margaret Forrester fears she could lose her job after a disciplinary hearing
But her NHS employers have launched disciplinary action against her and she fears she could lose her job over the row.
Miss Forrester has been accused of ‘distributing materials some people may find offensive’, and attended an internal hearing yesterday.
She faces an uncertain Christmas because she will not be told the outcome until January.
The case is the latest example of Christians who have faced disciplinary action from employers after expressing religious views.
Miss Forrester said: ‘My pro-life views do come from my Christian belief, but a lot of people have a religion. It’s not a criminal offence.
‘A religious opinion is expressed in the booklet, so therefore it’s not entirely neutral, but I believe that women considering abortion should have a full range of information.
‘It’s in the patient’s best interest. But I didn’t give the booklet to a patient, I gave it to a colleague in an informal conversation.’
Miss Forrester has worked for the NHS for six years and is a mental health worker at the Central North West London Mental Health Trust, based in Camden, North London.
In early November she gave two copies of the booklet ‘Forsaken – Women From Taunton Talk About Abortion’ to a female colleague, as part of a discussion about information offered to patients.
NHS advice states that ‘repeated abortions’ can cause damage to the womb, which can result in fertility problems.
Its website says: ‘Research suggests that having an abortion does not lead to long-term emotional or psychological problems.
‘However, some women can feel sad or guilty after an abortion, and post-abortion counselling services are widely available.’
Miss Forrester’s case is backed by the Christian Legal Centre, whose director Andrea Minichiello Williams (corr) said it was an example of public sector ‘intolerance’ towards religious belief.
She said: ‘It is staggering that to voice an opinion to colleagues and pass out a booklet could cost you your job.
‘The level of intolerance in the public sphere, particularly in public sector employment, is deeply worrying and suggests we are living in a society that is less and less free.’
Earlier this year, nurse Shirley Chaplin, 54, lost an employment tribunal over her right to wear a crucifix at work.
Lilian Ladele (corr), a registrar with Islington Council in North London, lost a case at the Appeal Court in which she argued she was entitled to refuse to conduct gay civil partnership ceremonies because they ran against her beliefs. She has since left her job.
A spokeswoman from the NHS trust said she could not comment on internal disciplinary cases.