Sweden: Christian Midwife Fired for Refusal to Perform Abortions

ICC Note: A Swedish Christian midwife is taking the government to court after being dismissed from hospital work for refusing to perform abortions. The case of Ellinor Grimmark is yet another incident in Europe where Christian employees or business owners have been forced to choose between employment and adhering to values practiced for centuries by orthodox Christians. Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers, an non-governmental organization, believe Ellinor should have been allowed to conscientiously object to performing abortions based on her religious beliefs without fear of being fired. A spokesperson for Alliance Defending Freedom – Europe, said “A society has truly lost its way when it excludes someone from the healthcare profession merely because they want to bring human life into the world rather than destroying it.”

06/30/2014 Sweden (Morning Star News) – A Scandinavian rights group has filed suit against the Swedish government on behalf of a Christian woman who was fired for refusing to perform abortions.

Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers, a Non-Governmental Organization that describes itself as dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and human dignity, states in the lawsuit that Jönköping County Council in Sweden supported three different hospitals’ withdrawal of midwife work from Swedish Christian Ellinor Grimmark.

The council “set up an obligation to perform abortions as a condition for employment as a midwife,” the rights organization states, according to LifeNews.com. “This is a requirement that puts persons of a certain religion or other beliefs in a discriminatory position.”

The lawsuit seeks 80,000 Swedish kronas (US$11,655) in compensation for damages and 60,000 Swedish kronas (US$8,740) in compensation for discrimination.

Roger Kiska, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom-Europe, which supports the lawsuit, said ADF is confident that the Swedish courts will rule in Grimmarks’ favor.

“In a civil society in this day and age, it is shocking that we are denying one of the most fundamental of human rights, the right to conscience,” he said, according to LifeNews. “A society has truly lost its way when it excludes someone from the healthcare profession merely because they want to bring human life into the world rather than destroying it.”

Hospital officials in the southern town of Eksjö had promised to extend Grimmark’s contract until she refused to participate in abortions last year. The Jönköping County Council’s decisions constituted interference with the exercise of Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience and religion under the European Convention on Human Rights, according to Ruth Nordström, head of Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers and CEO of Provita, which has supported Grimmark.

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