A Swedish midwife who refuses to carry out abortions is appealing to a labour tribunal after being turned down for jobs at local clinics three times.
Ellinor Grimmark objects to abortions because of her Christian beliefs. It is seen as a test case, partly because a big US Christian group is backing her.
The US Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a partner of her legal team - Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers.
Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers say that the EU and Europe’s main human rights watchdog - the Council of Europe - call for “freedom of conscience for healthcare professionals” concerning abortions. Sweden’s neighbours Norway and Denmark have specific clauses covering that in their healthcare systems.
Abortions are only “a very limited part of the work” of a Swedish midwife, the lawyers also point out.
Article nine of the European Convention on Human Rights, cited by the lawyers, requires states to safeguard “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. But it also allows restrictions for certain cases, including “for the protection of health” of other citizens. The convention is part of Swedish law.
A Council of Europe resolution adopted in 2010 defends “the right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care”.
“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,” it says.