Janaway v Salford Area Health Authority: HL 1 Feb 1988

The plaintiff took work as a secretary at a health centre, but objected to having to type out letters referring patients to an abortion clinic, saying that she conscientiously objected to participation in the process.
Held: Her appeal was dismissed. The phrase ‘participate in’ as used in the 1967 Act should be taken to have its normal and natural meaning. ‘any treatment authorised by this Act’ meant the process of treatment in hospital for the termination of pregnancy and ‘participating’ meant actually taking part in that process. It did not have the extended meaning given to participation by the criminal law. That meaning would not include a secretary’s activity as part of the treatment or medical process, and she had no right to be not involved.
Lord Keith explained that section 4 created ‘something of a compromise in relation to conscientious objection’. He agreed with Nolan J, who had observed ‘not begun or, I imagine, finally decided upon before the patient arrives at the hospital. The treatment is not simply abortion. It includes pre and post operative care. It covers the case where, for one reason or another, no abortion in fact takes place’, and the dissenting opinion of Balcome LJ in the courts below, considering that the word ‘participate’ should be given its natural meaning. It had not been used to cover the many forms of accessory who might be described as ‘participating’ in a criminal act.
Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Griffiths, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Lowry
[1989] AC 537, (1988) 3 BMLR 137, [1988] UKHL 17, [1988] 3 All ER 1079, [1989] 1 FLR 155, [1988] 2 WLR 442, [1988] Fam Law 389
Abortion Act 1967 4(1)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBritish Pregnancy Advisory Service v Secretary of State for Health Admn 14-Feb-2011
The claimant sought a declaration that the administration of an abortifacient drug was not ‘any treatment for the termination of pregnancy’ for the purposes of section 1 of the 1967 Act, allowing the piloting and possible adoption of early medical . .
CitedDoogan and Another v NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board SCS 24-Apr-2013
(Extra Division, Inner House) The reclaimers, Roman Catholic midwives working on a labour ward as co-ordinators, sought to assert a right of conscientious objection under the 1967 Act. The respondents said that only those directly involved in the . .
CitedGreater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan and Another SC 17-Dec-2014
Roman Catholic Midwives, working as Labour Ward Co-ordinators had objected to being involved in an administrative capacity in abortions being conducted by the appellants. The Outer House had said they were not entitled to opt out, but the Inner . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.430537