Human Rights

Pro-life midwife loses case in Swedish Labour Court

The Swedish Labour Court has ruled that pro-life midwife Ellinor Grimmark was not discriminated against when she was denied employment after saying she would not participate in abortions.

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, the court determined that “there had not been any violation of the midwife’s freedom of expression and opinion.” She is being asked to pay $100,000 in legal costs for the local government.

“Obviously I’m disappointed about the ruling. It was expected so it’s something we prepared for,” she told The Local. “I’ve spoken about it with my lawyers and I’m going to take it further to the European Court of Human Rights.”

The court’s verdict also determined that the county has the right to refuse employment to Grimmark because as a midwife she is required to participate in abortions.

The court’s decision is being supported by sex education groups and the country’s health minister Gabriel Wikström.

“In principle I think that healthcare should be based in science and proven experience, not an individual person’s opinions and thoughts. Refusal to carry out abortions, give out contraception and the like is a refusal to care,” Wikström told news agency TT.

Wikström believes that healthcare should be based on science, yet science proves that life begins at conception. Therefore, whenever an abortion is committed, a person is being killed. As a midwife, Grimmark wants to help bring life into the world, not end it. In addition, when Wikström claims that to not perform abortions is to not care, he is showing how little he knows about abortion and post-abortion syndrome. Abortion doesn’t help women; it sets them up for a lifetime of pain and suffering.

Kristina Ljungros, chairperson for the Swedish sexual education campaign organization RFSU, released a statement asserting, “It’s very important that the Labour Court establishes that abortion is included in midwifery. A patient’s care needs and wishes should not be steered by medical staff’s refusal to perform certain tasks.”

What Ljungros failed to take notice of is that there are at least two patients involved in every pregnancy. The preborn child is also a patient who deserves the right to her own life regardless of anyone else’s opinion of her value in the world. An abortion isn’t just another “task.” It’s the deliberate taking of a human being’s life and should not be viewed as just another part of the midwife job description.

The case began in 2014 when Grimmark said she would not perform abortions because of her Christian faith. As a result, a hospital rescinded its contract with her. Grimmark filed a complaint with Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman which ruled against her, stating that she had not been discriminated against because of religion, but rather the contract was rescinded when she refused to do her job.

Jönköping District Court then saw the case and also ruled against Grimmark. That’s when she took her argument to the Labour Court represented by the anti-abortion group Alliance Defending Freedom.

While the European Court of Human Rights can’t overrule the Swedish court’s decision, they could award compensation to Grimmark.

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