Swedish midwives (nurses) are facing a growing crisis as more employers demand that they assist in performing abortions.
This week, the pro-life legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom announced that it is representing another midwife who was denied employment because she refused to help kill unborn babies in abortions.
Swedish midwife Linda Steen was denied employment in March 2015 at the Women’s Clinic of Nyköping because she told them that she objected to killing unborn babies, according to the legal group.
“After explaining her position to the nursing unit manager, she received a letter from the management stating, ‘It is not our policy or our approach to leave any opening for a conscience clause. We have neither the ability nor intention to work with such exceptions,’” ADF reports.
But the clinic did not stop there in its discrimination against Steen. After the interview, the manager contacted another potential employer and told them about Steen’s convictions; and that employer also canceled her interview, according to the group.
ADF International allied attorney Ruth Nordström is represent Steen in a claim filed with the district court of Nyköping in Sweden.
“Sweden is facing a serious human rights issue: Another midwife has been forced to start legal proceedings because she will not carry out abortions,” said Robert Clarke, a British human rights expert and director of European advocacy with ADF International. “These midwives trained to bring life into the world. Now they are being punished because they refuse to do something they believe to be morally wrong.”
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Steen’s case is very similar to that of Ellinor Grimmark (pictured), another midwife who was fired because she objected to participating in abortions. Even though there was a shortage of midwives at the time she was fired and even though she is willing to take on double shifts, Grimmark has been denied a job ever since. One employer had first agreed to hire her in spite of the “complication” but withdrew the offer when her story began to spread in media.
In November, a Swedish court ruled against Grimmark, saying that women’s access to abortion was more important than health care professionals’ conscience rights, LifeNews reported. Grimmark plans to appeal the decision.
In the Steen case, ADF is highlighting a resolution from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that states, “[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.”
Clarke said freedom of conscience for health care professionals also is protected by the European Convention of Human Rights. He said Sweden is the only country in the European Union that does not have legal conscience protections.
“Being pro-abortion should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife,” Clarke said. “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.”