ADF International will hold a parallel event at the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Thursday to call upon European nations to respect the fundamental right to freedom of conscience within the medical profession. Two ADF International lawyers will speak at the event and will be available for media interviews.
ADF International, in coalition with Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers, will urge the UN Human Rights Council and the international community at large to confront the lack of protections for freedom of conscience in several European countries. Although this fundamental human right is protected under international and European human rights law, a growing trend – particularly within the medical profession – is to override it. As a result, doctors, nurses, and midwives are being fired for refusing to perform or partake in abortion procedures.
“No one deserves to be denied a job simply because they are pro-life,” said Ruben Navarro, ADF International’s director of UN Advocacy-Geneva, who will speak at the event. “International law makes it clear that being pro-abortion cannot be a requirement for employment, nor can medical facilities force nurses and midwives with a conscience objection to assist with practices that can lead to an abortion.”
At the event, Ruth Nordström, president of Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers and lead counsel in the case Grimmark vs. Jönköping City Council, will discuss the lack of conscience protections under Swedish law.
“Sweden has failed to develop a comprehensive and clear regulation that defines and regulates conscientious objection at the workplace, in particular for health care providers,” Nordström explains. “Swedish medical workers are being reprimanded, repositioned, fired, and put at a disadvantage in other ways as well. Their freedoms under international treaties are being violated.”
“Willingness to commit an abortion cannot be a litmus test for employment,” added ADF International Senior Legal Counsel and Director of UN Advocacy Paul Coleman. “Medical clinics and hospitals need to respect the desire and conviction of a midwife or nurse to protect life – a desire that led Ellinor Grimmark and others like her to pursue the profession in the first place.”