Nurse Fired for Refusing to Participate in Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2014   |   7:08PM   |   Stockholm, Sweden

A nurse in southern Sweden has been fired for refusing to participate in an abortion and she is now claiming religious discrimination as a result.

Ellinor Grimmark says she refused to help out with abortions at the local hospital where she worked and, as a result, they failed to extend her contract. The nurse did a student internship at a hospital in Eksjö and was promised extra work until she informed hospital officials her faith would not allow her to participate in abortions.

swedenThe hospital then withdrew its offer for summer employment and Grimmark has filed a complaint with the Swedish discrimination watchdog Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (DO).

The Swedish newspaper The Local has the rest of the story:

“I feel like their reaction was personal,” she told the TT news agency on Friday. The midwife has now finished her studies and found work at another hospital, where staff had told her that her refusal to assist with abortions was not straightforward.

“I declared my attitude to the hospital management and while they think it is problematic they said it was OK and that were prepared to give it a try,” Grimmark said.

She has found no support, however, from the union.

“As a patient in Sweden it must be very clear what (healthcare) you can expect according to Swedish law,” the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (Vårdförbundet) vice chairwoman Pia Arndorff told TT. “It should not depend on whom you happen to encounter.”



In contrast, Grimmark though it was reasonable to be able to opt out of certain work also in the public sector due to private conviction.
“I think it’s part and parcel of human rights, and that one should have freedom of conscience also in Sweden,” Grimmark told TT.

The Discrimination Ombudsman is expected to issue a ruling within the next week or two.