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         May 2017


Swedish midwife takes her case to the European Court

On 12th April 2017 Swedish midwife, Ellinor Grimmark, lost her long battle in the Swedish courts to not have to participate in abortions. She has now decided to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

In 2014, Grimmark completed an internship and was offered a job at Höglandssjukhuset women's clinic in Eksjö in the south of Sweden. However, after stating that she did not want to participate in abortions, the offer of the job was retracted. Two other clinics also refused to employ her because of her conscientious objection to carrying out abortions. 

She took her case to the local court in 2015 and lost and then took her case to the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal but her recent loss there left her with the only options of giving up or taking her case to the European Human Rights Court.

Paul Coleman of Alliance Defending Freedom has commented the loss saying, "The judgment is clearly not in line with international law," and, "In Strasbourg, the case could set a huge precedent for freedom of conscience for more than 800 million Europeans who are subject to the Court's ruling." (As quoted by ADF)

Ellinor Grimmark and her family are now living in Norway where she works as a midwife. In Norway, the freedom of conscience of midwives is respected and Grimmark does not need to participate in abortions. When recently interviewed in Swedish newspaper, Dagen, she was asked why she was still continuing the battle and her response was that many Swedish midwives have contacted her asking her to continue her fight as they need to have freedom of conscience. She also thinks that the Government shouldn't be allowed to decide what a person should think and believe and bar them from employment on the grounds of their beliefs. She says that the Government has ordered her to pay the local government's legal fees, more than 1 million Swedish crowns (over £90,000), in their attempt to silence her and to scare others from doing the same. All these reasons are motivating her to continue the battle for freedom of conscience. (comments translated from Swedish newspaper 'Dagen')

Ruth Nordström of Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers has said that, "This case is a ground-breaking case on freedom of conscience," and, "Freedom of conscience is a very important essential human right that is ensured in the European Convention on Human Rights in Article 9. And this case is also about the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech." (As quoted by LifeSiteNews)