Denied employment because she would not assist in abortions
By Dave Andrusko
When last we reported on Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark, she had just been told yet again she must assist with abortions in order to be employed.
In November 2015, the district court of Jönköping County Council found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated and awarded substantial costs against her. Grimmark has been denied employment by three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping because she would not assist with abortions.
At the time Grimmark said she planned to appeal the decision.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Ms. Grimmark is suing healthcare officials for discrimination. Grimmark is being assisted by Alliance Defending Freedom International.
According to an update posted at ADF International’s webpage, the Labour Court of Appeal was scheduled to hear the case January 24-27.
“Being required to participate in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. “The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Employers should respect that desire and look to safeguard the moral convictions of their staff.”
In its expert brief in support of Grimmark’s appeal, ADF International highlighted the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.
In particular, the brief referenced a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which categorically states 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.”
“Nobody should be forced to choose between following their conscience and pursuing their profession,” said Clarke. “Sweden is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and it should take its obligation to protect citizens’ freedom of conscience seriously.” Clarke added, “Citizens’ deeply held convictions should be accommodated by their employers.”