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MAY 2015


1505 image news

Call for freedom to protect life

Image news has previously reported the case of the two Scottish midwives Connie Wood and Mary Doogan who have been told that the Supreme Court in London that they may face dismissal if they refuse to supervise abortions.

In November 2013, Höglandssjukhuset women’s clinic rescinded a job offer as a midwife from Ellinor Grimmark after she explained that she could not perform abortions because of her Christian faith. The head of the maternity ward left her a telephone message saying that “she was no longer welcome to work with them” and questioned “whether a person with such views actually can become a midwife.” A few months later, Grimmark tried to obtain employment with Ryhovs women’s clinic, which told her that a person who refuses to perform abortions does not belong at a women’s clinic.

Growing trend

There is international concern that this is part of a growing trend.

In response to this trend, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, a legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their Christian faith, has called upon European nations to respect the fundamental right to freedom of conscience within the medical profession.  On 12th March, ADF International held a parallel event at the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Two ADF International lawyers spoke at the event.

In coalition with Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers, they urged the UN Human Rights Council and the international community at large to confront the lack of protections for freedom of conscience in several European countries. Although this fundamental human right is protected under international and European human rights law, a growing trend – particularly within the medical profession – is to override it. As a result, doctors, nurses, and midwives are being fired for refusing to perform or partake in abortion procedures.

“No one deserves to be denied a job simply because they are pro-life, said Ruben Navarro, ADF International’s director of UN Advocacy-Geneva, who will speak at the event. “International law makes it clear that being pro-abortion cannot be a requirement for employment, nor can medical facilities force nurses and midwives with a conscience objection to assist with practices that can lead to an abortion.”

ADF International Senior Legal Counsel and Director of UN Advocacy, Paul Coleman, made the point that many who enter the medical profession do so because they believe that they are called to protect life, not to destroy it. He  commented, “Willingness to commit an abortion cannot be a litmus test for employment. Medical clinics and hospitals need to respect the desire and conviction of a midwife or nurse to protect life – a desire that led Ellinor Grimmark and others like her to pursue the profession in the first place.”@

A facebook page supporting Ellinor Grimmark may be viewed here.