According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in 1948, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and “to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” And, as Alliance Defending Freedom recently noted, “the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed a resolution on ‘the right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care’.” But given the situation of at least two pro-life midwives in Sweden, it seems certain governing bodies have chosen not to follow these resolutions.
Ellinor Grimmark (about whom Live Action News has previously reported) and Linda Steen, both midwives in Sweden, have been prevented from giving care to expectant mothers because they refuse to take part in abortion. Alliance Defending Freedom writes that Grimmark “applied for a position as a midwife at Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic in 2013. After initially offering her the job, the clinic then withdrew the job offer because Ellinor had explained that she couldn’t, in good conscience, participate in abortions.” Later, she applied to another women’s clinic and was told “that a person who refuses to perform abortions doesn’t belong at a women’s clinic.” When Grimmark pursued legal action, despite the UDHR and the supposed conscience protections for medical workers, the district court of Jönköping County Council ruled against her.
Steen’s story is similar. According to ADF:
In March 2015, Linda was denied employment as a midwife because she would not carry out abortions. After explaining her position to the nursing unit manager, the Women’s Clinic of Nyköping refused to hire her. 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.’
It was not enough to simply deny Linda the position at Nykoping’s clinic. The manager went even further by contacting another potential employer about Ms. Steen’s convictions. As a result, her interview was cancelled.
Abortion is the only surgical procedure designed to end a pregnancy by intentionally killing a living human being. Therefore, abortion is not like any other medical procedure, though those in the abortion industry have claimed otherwise.
Other countries — like the United States — recognize the right of medical professionals to refuse to intentionally kill preborn human beings. Ireland, which recently rejected the Eighth Amendment making elective abortion legal in the country, still supports conscience protections for medical professionals. According to LifeSiteNews, a poll “conducted by Amárach Research… revealed that a clear majority comprising 68 percent of the Irish public opposed doctors being forced to carry out abortions, with only 17 percent of those questioned in favor, and 15 percent responding with ‘don’t know.'” In addition, according to World Net Daily, Norway’s Supreme Court just ruled “in favor of a physician fired for refusing to distribute abortion-causing drugs.”
Perhaps Sweden will one day see fit to view conscience protection as a human right. Until then, qualified pro-life midwives will likely have to find work elsewhere.