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Swedish midwife loses her religious ‘persecution’ case

Swedish midwife loses her religious ‘persecution’ case

Ellinor Grimmark, above, has been refused permission to sue a local authority for denying her employment when she refused to carry out abortions due to her religious beliefs.

According to this report, the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen) ruled today (Wednesday) that Grimmark had not been discriminated against by Jönköping County Council because the county had the right to require midwives working at women’s clinics to carry out all of their duties, including abortions.

The court also judged that:

There had not been any violation of the midwife’s freedom of expression and opinion.

Grimmark first made headlines in January 2014 after a contract offer at a hospital in Eksjö was rescinded when she said she would not perform abortions on the grounds of her Christian faith.

She launched a complaint with Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Disrkimineringsombudsmannen) but it judged she had not been discriminated against, as the county had refused her the position on the basis that she was not prepared to perform duties that were part of the job description – not on the basis of her religion.

Jönköping District Court then reached a similar conclusion when the case was taken to them, ruling against claims of discrimination.

Grimmark then took her appeal to the Labour Court, with the help of US-based Christian anti-abortion organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) , insisting she had been discriminated against and her freedom of religion and freedom of expression had been breached.

Said Robert Clarke, ADF’s Director of European Advocacy:

People should not be punished for making decisions in line with their conscience. ADF International will stand with her until her right to freedom of conscience is properly protected, in accordance with both Swedish and international law.

Grimmark has now been told to pay the other party’s legal costs. She said:

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

The European Court of Human Rights cannot overrule Sweden’s courts, but if it finds that there has been a violation in a case, it may award compensation and ask the State concerned to refund expenses incurred in presenting it.

The verdict was welcomed by Swedish sexual education campaign organisation RFSU. It’s chairperson Kristina Ljungros said in a statement.:

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.

Earlier this year Mia Ahlberg, President of the Swedish Association of Midwives said that Grimmark should choose another profession if she is unwilling to perform abortions.

Ahlberg added that if Grimmark wins the case, it would have consequences for the whole Swedish health care system.

For example, a nurse who is a Jehovah’s Witness might refuse to perform a blood transfusion. It’s part of our professional competence – so the employer had a right to say ‘you cannot work here’.

Sweden’s Health Minister Gabriel Wikström did not want to comment on the specific case, but said that he believes that Swedish healthcare should be science-based.

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.

20 responses to “Swedish midwife loses her religious ‘persecution’ case”

  1. Marcus says:

    Oh spare me pictures of Christians wearing little whipped pup expressions!

  2. Alan Crowe says:

    the ‘christian’ god is the main provider of abortions via miscarriages, around 1 in 4 I believe.
    She must have a plan for the foetuses.

    I can’t help but wonder why these folk (almost always women) take on these professions that they know will conflict with their ‘deeply held religious beliefs’
    Hopefully this will be yet another drain on the resources of the ‘christian legal whatever they call themselves, who to date as far as I’m aware have never won a case.

  3. Daz says:

    If you have religious (or any other) objections to doing X, do not apply for or accept a job which involves doing X. It really is that simple.

  4. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    What Daz said.

  5. L.Long says:

    Another LIAR4jesus thinking they have special privileges when it comes to work or anything else.

  6. Cali Ron says:

    And the ADF loses another frivolous persecution case. Score one for the rational people.

  7. Robster says:

    Are these people trained or even proud to behave like 6 year olds? Sorry to those aged 6.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Alan Crowe: Heaven is going to be full of foetuses, according to many Christians. That should make it a very strange place indeed.

    http://www.everydaychristian.com/blogs/post/do_babies_go_to_heaven_what_does_the_bible_say/

  9. 1859 says:

    It surely cannot have escaped her attention when she applied to study midwifery and while she was studying the subject, that one day she would be required to perform abortions? If her christian beliefs were so paramount she should not have chosen a profession that would inevitably clash with her beliefs. Strange really.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Regarding foetuses, heaven, “souls”, and “right to life”arguments, the following article is interesting:

    http://reason.com/archives/2004/12/22/is-heaven-populated-chiefly-by

    Stepping onto dangerous theological ground, it seems that if human embryos consisting of one hundred cells or less are the moral equivalents of a normal adult, then religious believers must accept that such embryos share all of the attributes of a human being, including the possession of an immortal soul. So even if we generously exclude all of the naturally conceived abnormal embryos—presuming, for the sake of theological argument, that imperfections in their gene expression have somehow blocked the installation of a soul—that would still mean that perhaps 40 percent of all the residents of Heaven were never born, never developed brains, and never had thoughts, emotions, experiences, hopes, dreams, or desires.

    Yet millions of intelligent people of good will maintain that seven-day-old embryos have the exact same moral standing as do readers of this column. Acting on this sincere belief, they are trying to block biomedical research on human embryonic stem cells that is desired by millions of their fellow citizens.

  11. Paul says:

    Yes good points.
    I recall a few years ago a report of a woman who was a Jew being sacked by M&S for refusing to taste pork products – pork pies or bacon etc. On religious grounds.
    Her job? she was a food taster.
    (Funny as M and S ,I think, were both jews).

  12. Brian Jordan says:

    She’s rendered herself unable to do the job. That her inability is due to choice, rather than circumstances, makes it worse, not better.

  13. CoastalMaineBird says:

    barriejohn: “Heaven is going to be full of fetuses,

    If you really want to tie them in knots, add all this up:

    Finally, one thing can be stated with complete certainty: In the resurrection, there will be no deformities. You will be the perfect you, and I will be the perfect me.
    ( http://www.equip.org/audio/what-age-will-we-be-in-heaven/ )

    So, all the fetuses with abnormalities get “fixed”…

    And then theres this:
    it would stand to reason that our bodies will be resurrected at the optimal stage of development determined by our DNA. So it stands to reason that when a person dies in faith as an infant or in old age that they will be resurrected physically mature as God originally intended them to be.

    So, those clumps of cells, miscarried at 7 weeks or whatever, turn into fully mature adults.

    —- It’s COMPLETELY CERTAIN ! ! !

    I’m glad to hear it, because I imagined mom being reunited with her dead son and, since one never ages, being forced to carry around a crying, diapered baby for eternity.

  14. barriejohn says:

    CoastalMaineBird: I got totally fed up with trying to rationalize such ridiculous beliefs when I was a Christian. None of it makes sense; it’s a fantasy.

  15. John the Drunkard says:

    Just to be sure: was abortion service part of her job description when she started work?
    If not, there are legitimate questions about either allowing her to cherrypick which parts of the job were ‘acceptable,’ or finding her alternative work.

  16. barriejohn says:

    John et al: The offer of a position was rescinded when she refused to carry out that part of the work. She was alleging discrimination.

    Grimmark first made headlines in January 2014 after a contract offer at a hospital in Eksjö was rescinded when she said she would not perform abortions on the grounds of her Christian faith.

    She launched a complaint with Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman…but it judged she had not been discriminated against, as the county had refused her the position on the basis that she was not prepared to perform duties that were part of the job description – not on the basis of her religion.

    Why did she apply in the first place, as she must have known what was required of employees?

  17. Seff - nephew of Bob says:

    Ellinor Grimmark ought to apply for a work permit in Poland. Soon as the Leader of PiS (Law and Justice) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski has announced there would be complete ban on terminating life of the unborn. Jesus is crucified again and again in each and every aborted life. Isaiah 53:5
    “He was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities”
    Especialy and solely for: Paul, Daz and Angela this film. I must say that I have taken a liking to you folks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrV7X2N4PQo
    PS: Now, I am off as a bucket of prawns in the sun. I will turn up again on the 100 anniversary of Fatima Revelations. Bye then.

  18. barriejohn says:

    Jaroslaw Kaczynski has announced there would be complete ban on terminating life of the unborn.

    Better put God in prison then, as he’s been responsible for the vast majority of abortions that have taken place throughout human history. What a load of codswallop!

  19. Gui says:

    barriejohn:

    And how about these peoples protesting abortion arguing that it is a killing of innocent life, but seeing no problem with God ordering that the israelites doesn’t spare even babies and childs in the Canaan’s conquest?

  20. John says:

    As ever, US Dollars are funding totally spurious legal cases.
    This is “lawfare” presumably funded by US Federal Dollars as the improperly named Alliance Defending Freedom are presumably registered as a charity under US law?
    Similar US people are spreading religious muck around Africa and creating extremist christians there too.