A Swedish nurse midwife who was fired three times for refusing to help abort unborn babies has not given up her legal fight to protect her conscience rights.
Premier, a UK news site, reports Ellinor Grimmark is suing healthcare officials for discrimination. Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers, which represents Grimmark, argues that European Union law protects healthcare professionals’ “freedom of conscience” on issues like abortion.
Grimmark’s case has been going on for years. When LifeNews last reported about the case in 2016, a Swedish court ruled against her, saying that women’s access to abortion was more important than health care professionals’ conscience rights, LifeNews reported. At the time, Grimmark said she planned to appeal the decision.
Since then, another Swedish nurse came forward with a similar complaint. Midwife Linda Steen said she was denied employment in March 2015 at the Women’s Clinic of Nyköping because she told them that she objected to killing unborn babies in abortions.
Here’s more from the report about Grimmark’s case:
The lawyers also argue that performing abortions is a “very limited part of the work” of Swedish midwives and she can perform the other duties the job requires.
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ADF’s chief European lobbyist, Robert Clarke, says “nobody should be forced to choose between following their conscience and pursuing their profession”.
But Mia Ahlberg, president of the Swedish Association of Midwives told the BBC that Grimmark should choose another profession if she is unwilling to perform abortions.
Ahlberg added that if Grimmark wins the case, it would have consequences for the whole Swedish health care system.
She said: “For example, a nurse who is a Jehovah’s Witness might refuse to perform a blood transfusion.
According to previous reports, Grimmark has been denied a job ever since she first began refusing to participate 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. She said 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.
“Sweden is facing a serious human rights issue: Another midwife has been forced to start legal proceedings because she will not carry out abortions,” Robert Clarke, a British human rights expert and director of European advocacy with ADF International, said previously. “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.”
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.”