Swedish Midwife Fired for Pro-Life Views Awaits Appellate Court Ruling

Ellinor Grimmark, a Christian, was forced to find work in Norway after hospitals in her own country refused to accommodate her pro-life views.

By Liberty McArtor Published on April 11, 2017

A Christian midwife in Sweden is fighting for her right to work. On Wednesday an appellate court ruled that Ellinor Grimmark could be forced to perform abortions or lose her job. Grimmark is considering taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

When Grimmark completed midwife training a few years ago, she could not find an employer that would respect her conscience rights, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. As noted by the BBC, Swedish midwives have more medical authority than midwives in many other countries. At times they also take part in abortions. (Though the Journal cited a 2007 study indicating that only 35 percent of midwives had done so.)

Perform Abortions or Else

But when Grimmark completed training, her employer refused to accommodate her pro-life views. Other hospitals rejected her as well, despite a shortage of midwives in Sweden.

One manager reportedly screamed at Grimmark as she tried to express her beliefs. “How could you even think of becoming a midwife with these opinions?”

Grimmark ended up accepting a job in Norway, where hospitals respect the conscience rights of pro-life medical officials. She commuted four hours each way, leading her family to eventually move to Norway.

World magazine reports that Grimmark filed a religious discrimination complaint in 2014. Since then, three Swedish courts have ruled against her. One even ordered her to pay $109,000 in legal fees. This week she is appealing her case once again.

The Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers (SHRL) are representing Grimmark. The U.S.-based Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) international arm is assisting in her representation.

Punished for Following Her Conscience

The President of the Swedish Association of Midwives indicated that Grimmark’s refusal to participate in abortion violates women’s rights. As World reported, Mia Ahlberg said Grimmark can choose another profession if she doesn’t want to participate in abortion.

“It’s about women’s rights, human rights and access to good, safe healthcare,” she told the BBC. ADF’s Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke refuted that idea, World reported.

“The only person whose rights have been violated is Ellinor Grimmark,” Clarke said in a January press release. “The fact that midwives in other countries are able to work in accordance with their consciences should be proof enough that Sweden stands without an excuse.”

According to SHRL, Swedish law, including the European Council on Human Rights, protects the conscience rights of medical personnel.

The legal group adds that Grimmark is not alone in her convictions.

“A corresponding proportion of patients, also taxpayers, in Swedish society share Ellinor Grimmark’s ethical and/or religious beliefs,” reads SHRL’s webpage on Grimmark’s case.

“People should not be punished for making decisions in line with their conscience,” Clarke said.

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