Swedish Midwife to Appeal to European Court for Conscience Rights


Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark has decided to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights over Sweden’s restrictions on conscientious objection. She is challenging a decision of the Swedish Appeals Court that the government can force medical professionals to perform and cooperate in abortions, or else be forced out of their profession. This ruling appears to contradict international law protecting conscientious objection.


Three different medical clinics denied Grimmark employment because she will not assist with abortions. In Sweden, midwives are essentially nurses who specialize in pregnancy and childbirth and seldom do abortions. It would have been relatively easy to find a way to accommodate Grimmark’s preferences, but the clinics refused.


In November 2015, a district court found that her right to freedom of conscience had not been violated by refusing to employ her. That court even required her to pay the local government’s legal costs of €100,000.


“Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a medical professional. In accordance with international law, the court should have protected Ellinor’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience,” said Robert Clarke, of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF International), an American group which is helping with Grimmark’s case.


“The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that ‘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’” Clarke said. “As a member state, Sweden must be held to its obligation to respect this freedom.”

MercatorNet. April 26.

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter, Lifezine.

Sustain Our Efforts

Contribute to F&L's publishing efforts with a donation today.

Donate Now