Swedish Labor Court Rules Medical Facilities Had Right to Deny Midwife Job for Refusing to Assist in Abortions

JÖNKÖPING, Sweden – A Swedish labor court has upheld a ruling against a midwife who filed suit after being denied employment by several medical facilities because of her convictions not to assist with performing abortions.

The court ruled on Wednesday that there is no reason to believe that Ellinor Grimmark’s “freedom of opinion and expression had been violated” or that she had been discriminated against because of her pro-life principles. It also found that “some of the demands are too old [and] have exceeded the statute of limitations.”

As previously reported, in November 2013, Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic rescinded a job offer to Grimmark—a new midwifery graduate looking for employment—after she explained her beliefs, allegedly telling her that they questioned “whether a person with such views actually can become a midwife.”

She filed a complaint with the Swedish discrimination ombudsman and continued her job search, but as a result, Värnamo Hospital’s women’s clinic also withdrew an offer to Grimmark, stating that employees are not permitted to publicly take a stand against abortion.

Ryhovs Women’s Clinic likewise denied Grimmark employment, stating that those who oppose abortion should not work at women’s medical facilities.

In April 2014, the ombudsman concluded that Grimmark did not have a case because she was rejected not “because of her religion, but because she was not prepared to perform duties that were part of the job description.” She appealed the decision to the district court of Jonkoping County Council.

The religious liberties group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) then assisted with Grimmark’s case, filing an expert brief that noted that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has agreed 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, 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.”

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But in November 2015, a Swedish court ruled that medical facilities have a right to require employees to fulfill all of their job descriptions, and stated that it was proper for clinics to require midwives to assist with abortions as “the region has an obligation to ensure that women have effective access to abortion.”

Grimmark was also ordered to pay the equivalent of $105,000 in legal fees and over $67,000 in damages to the Jonkoping City Council, which she had sued over the matter.

She appealed to the Swedish Labor Court, which came to a similar conclusion on Wednesday.

The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education applauded the ruling.

“It’s very important that the labor 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,” Chairperson Kristina Ljungros said in a statement.

But ADF says that it is unacceptable that participation in abortion procedures is a prerequisite for employment, and that there is no allowance for pro-life Christians who would like to work as midwives.

“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,” Robert Clarke, the international director of European advocacy, remarked in a statement. “For that reason, Ellinor is considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.”

According to reports, Sweden has one of the highest abortion rates in Europe—20.8 per 1,000 women, as per data collected in 2011.

Abortion is Murder from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.

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  • meamsane

    Reminds me of Exodus 1:15-22 where Pharaoh of Egypt (now of Sweden) told the midwives to kill the newly born males of the Hebrews because he was afraid of them becoming an army against him. They didn’t and God was kind towards them.

    So now, Pharaoh of Sweden wants this midwife to cast aside her moral conscience and conform to the amoral collective of Sweden?
    Don’t “doctors” take an oath to “do no harm”?

    • TheLastHonestLawyer

      She’s not a doctor, and the Hippocratic Oath isn’t a straitjacket.

      Your analogy is terrible, comparing the involuntary massacre of children to a voluntary medical procedure.

      • Amos Moses

        “Your analogy is terrible, comparing the involuntary massacre of children to a voluntary medical procedure”

        let me fix that for you …… Your analogy is terrible, comparing the involuntary massacre of children to a voluntary medical procedure that STILL kills a child, and there is no real difference ……….. just more dishonesty on the part of your false and misleading screen name ……

      • meamsane

        Well, we wouldn’t want any doctors suffering from a conscience, would we? So lets put a disclaimer under the Hippocratic Oath in small print. Or anyone else in the medical community.
        Are the courts becoming our Jiminy Cricket?

        • TheLastHonestLawyer

          I deal with many medical professionals, as I’m recovering from a stroke and have several other medical issues. They all are moral people. However, one of the realities of any professional position is you might be called upon to do something distasteful but required by the job.

          I used to be a public defender. I have defended rapists, domestic abusers, and murderers because I took the job knowing that it would happen, and I took an oath to defend all my clients to the utmost of my ability. If I wan’t ready to do that, I never should have gone into criminal law.

          Same goes for medical professionals. You will deal with people and situations that test you to the limit, but your job is to serve the patient to the best of your ability. If you can’t do it, don’t bother showing up.

          • meamsane

            And that was your choice to conform and compromise! So it becomes easy for you to say of someone else, that they should find another career when it isn’t you!

            In Sweden, a woman can choose to have an abortion for any reason, but medical professionals have NO CHOICE in the matter that feel it is wrong? There is something wrong with that!

            Hope you recover fully from your stroke!!!!!

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            I chose to go into criminal law. I could have followed the money into contract law, or international business law. But I had this thing for the 6th Amendment, so I made a choice to get involved in a field where I would be forced to defend people I’d sooner shoot out of hand.

            Medical professionals don’t have to specialize in OB/GYN, and we’re talking about a midwife, a specialty that *only* deals with pregnancies and childbirth. This woman could have become a physical therapist, a surgical assistant, or any number of things where abortion would not be on her radar.

            Instead, she chose a profession where dealing with abortion is mandatory. I severely doubt that Swedish laws on abortion were not covered in her training, and yet she continued. Now she’s demanding a job while saying she will refuse to take part in a part of the job description. That’s be like me hiring a court reporter who refused to transcribe any words she found objectionable.

            Thanks for your kind wishes, I’ve reach the upper end of my recovery. Still have difficulty walking and speaking, and my memory is shaky, but I’m here!,

          • meamsane

            Would you say the same thing if there were an assisted suicide law in Sweden that Doctors and nurses were required to assist?

            I am glad you are doing fairly good!!!

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            Well, yes, as I strongly support the right of people to decide when to end their suffering at the end of their lives. When there is no hope of a recovery, and all that is left is increasing pain and disability, competent adults should be allowed to chose to end their misery.

            Now, just like choosing to be an OB/GYN carries specific requirements, choosing to be certified in assisting in assisted suicide would also be a choice. Any clinic of doctor who offered this service would make it clear. So if a nurse looking for work applies at a clinic of facility that offers death with dignity options, he can’t refuse to take part in that *if* the job he took had that area as part of his normal duties.

  • james blue

    Employers should not be forced by law to make accommodations for our faith. It’s nice when employers do make accommodations, but they should be forced to by law.

    It is up to us to make the sacrifices in life in order to live by our faith, not have others make accommodations for us. If this means certain jobs are not suited to us, so be it.

  • TheLastHonestLawyer

    “she was not prepared to perform duties that were part of the job description.”

    That’s the entire story. If someone shows up for a job, then says that he of she isn’t going to do a required part of that job for any reason, they don’t get hired.

  • Amos Moses

    Sweden is ceasing to be Swedish ………..

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Midwives exist to protect human life!! Sweden needs Christian conscience for its children to obtain life.

  • Sisyphus

    Why would she submit a CV to an organization that I’m sure she knew would expect her assist with abortions? Analogous to applying for a job at a bar, and saying, but my conscience won’t permit me to serve alcohol.

  • Living in Western Europe (I’m not Swedish but it isn’t really better in the rest of the West) can, at times, make you feel so jaded and tired. Only a tiny minority is opposed to feminism, open borders, Islamization and so on. And even this tiny minority is more often than not atheist and/or fascist (and I mean *actually* anti-Christian fascist not fake news “””fascist”””), hating Islam for instance for all the wrong reasons.

    I’m FAR from idealizing the United States but, honestly, sometimes it feels SO bad here that every time you come to the US from Europe you feel like Joshua entering the Promised Land, and once you return to Europe it feels like there’s this dark spiritual cloud obscuring everything.