A fight is heating up in Sweden after a hospital fired a qualified midwife and other employers refused to hire her because she won’t do abortions.
The case of Ellinor Grimmark was the subject of a recent report by Morning Star News.
The independent news service focuses exclusively on reports regarding the persecution of Christians.
The report said hospital officials in the town of Eksjö had promised to extend Grimmark’s contract after she interned there – until she refused to participate in abortions last summer.
Another hospital where she sought employment then reneged on a promise to hire her for the same reason, she said.
“They have said that because I do not perform abortions, I cannot work as midwife,” she said. “In my contact with my employer or a prospective employer, I have talked very carefully about my inability to perform abortions based on my Christian faith, my sincere religious conviction. My employer has not been willing to discuss the issue further.”
The 37-year-old wife and mother later found work as a nurse, but she’s pursuing a complaint with Sweden’s anti-discrimination bureaucracy with the help of human rights group Provita and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
She said she studied to be a midwife “hoping for a supportive employer that would be willing to help me and grant me the right to freedom of conscience.”
“But unfortunately, I have encountered a very negative attitude and a direct unwillingness to resolve my case. They answered me that, ‘Someone with your opinions has no place at our clinic,’” she said.
Provita spokeswoman Ruth Nordstrom said Grimmark “is denied the right to exercise the most basic manifestation of Article 9 of the [European Convention on Human Rights].”
“Her employer has not complied with either the Swedish Discrimination Act’s prohibition against direct or indirect discrimination, or the requirement of a general obligation to cooperate with the employee ‘to achieve equal rights and opportunities in working life regardless of religious belief, and in particular to combat employment discrimination on such grounds.’”
But abortion advocates are concerned that allowing hospital employees to opt out of performing abortions would undermine the nation’s free abortion services.
Pia Arndorff of the Swedish Association of Health Professionals said in the Morning Star report: “As a patient in Sweden, it must be very clear what you can expect according to Swedish law. It should not depend on whom you happen to encounter.”
Nordstrom said the midwife would win if the case ends up in the European Court of Human rights.
A 2010 resolution from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly states: “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, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human fetus or embryo, for any reason.”