Two Catholic midwives who won an appeal over the right to avoid any involvement in abortion procedures have voiced delight at the ruling.
Mary Doogan, 58, and Connie Wood, 52, are conscientious objectors to the process and, as such, have had no direct role in pregnancy terminations.
But the midwifery sisters claimed they should also be entitled to refuse to delegate, supervise and support staff involved in the procedures or providing care to patients during the process.
The women took their case against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but lost last year.
However, three appeal judges at the same court have now ruled that their appeal should succeed.
“In our view the right of conscientious objection extends not only to the actual medical or surgical termination but to the whole process of treatment given for that purpose,” ruled Lady Dorrian, with Lords Mackay and McEwan.
The midwives said the ruling affirmed the rights of all midwives to withdraw from a practice that would “violate their conscience”.
In a statement released by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which supported the action, Ms Wood and Ms Doogan said: “Connie and I are absolutely delighted with today’s judgment from the Court of Session, which recognises and upholds our rights as labour ward midwifery sisters to withdraw from participating in any treatment that would result in medical termination of pregnancy.
“In holding all life to be sacred from conception to natural death, as midwives we have always worked in the knowledge we have two lives to care for throughout labour; a mother and that of her unborn child.
“Today’s judgment is a welcome affirmation of the rights of all midwives to withdraw from a practice that would violate their conscience and which, over time, would indeed debar many from entering what has always been a very rewarding and noble profession.
“It is with great relief we can now return to considerations that are all to do with childbirth and midwifery practice and less to do with legal matters.”
The health board said it notes the outcome of the appeal and will be considering its options with its legal advisers.