District Court in Swedish rules midwife Ellinor Grimmark must assist with abortions to be employed

By Dave Andrusko

Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark

Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark

When last we wrote about Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) had just filed a brief on her behalf after the local Equality Ombudsman ruled that Grimmark was not being discriminated against because of her pro-life views. (Midwives in Sweden are similar to nurses here.)

Today, the district court of Jönköping County Council ruled against Grimmark who had been denied employment by three different medical clinics because she will not assist with abortions. Grimmark plans to appeal the decision.

“No one deserves to suffer discrimination and be denied employment because their conscience does not allow them to perform abortions,” said ADF International Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “We are disappointed the court did not affirm Swedish law and international law to which Sweden is obligated and that both recognize freedom of conscience in the workplace. Medical facilities should not force midwives to violate their conscience by requiring them to assist in abortion.”

According to a statement issued by ADF International ….

In November 2013, Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic rescinded a job offer as a midwife from Grimmark after she explained that she could not perform abortions because of her conscientious objection and her Christian faith. The head of the maternity ward said that “she was no longer welcome to work with them” and questioned “whether a person with such views actually can become a midwife.” A few months later, Grimmark tried to obtain employment with Ryhovs women’s clinic, which told her that a person who refuses to perform abortions does not belong at a women’s clinic.

In January, Värnamo Hospital’s women’s clinic offered Grimmark a job but then withdrew employment because of the complaint she filed against Höglandssjukhuset in April. The head of the hospital told Grimmark that no employee was allowed to publicly take a stand against abortion. The group Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers represents Grimmark in court.

The ADF International brief filed in the case explained that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that “no person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.”

“Being pro-abortion should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife,” added ADF International Legal Counsel Robert Clarke. “The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Medical centers should respect that desire and conviction.”

Grimmark is currently working as a midwife with maternity care in Norway, where her freedom of conscience is being respected.