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Sweden should protect fundamental rights of medical staff

Swedish Appeal Court to rule in conscience case for medical staff; Midwife’s struggle against authorities to be decided on 12 April


Jönköping – Should a midwife have to choose between following her conscience or pursuing her career? On 12 April 2017, the Labour Court of Appeal will decide this question for Sweden. The case of midwife Ellinor Grimmark has already attracted significant media attention, not least because her legal team exposed Sweden’s disregard for international law protecting conscientious objection.

“Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. “We are hopeful that the Court, in accordance with international law, will protect Ellinor Grimmark’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience.

WHAT:

News conference after oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission at US Supreme Court

WHERE:

Tuesday, 5 December, immediately following oral arguments (approximately 11:15 a.m. EST, 16:15 p.m. GMT )

WHEN:

Outside US Supreme Court, 1 First St. NE, Washington


A high price to pay

Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping had refused to employ Ms. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions regarding the dignity of all human life. However, in November 2015, a district court found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated. It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000 EUR. ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.

The only person whose rights have been violated is Ellinor Grimmark

“Some have attempted to frame this case as one that pits one human right against another. However, the only person whose rights have been violated is Ellinor Grimmark. Midwives in other countries are able to work in accordance with their consciences. This should be proof enough that Sweden stands without an excuse,” added Clarke.

Related Case: Grimmark v. Jönköping County Council

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