The Swedish Labor Court ruled against a pro-life midwife in a dispute over her refusal to carry out abortions.
Several hospitals in the Jonkoping region turned down Ellinor Grimmark’s job applications because she refused to carry out abortions. Grimmark argued that her Christian faith made it impossible to take part in abortions and sued the region for discrimination.
The court ruling states that Grimmark wasn’t subject to discrimination since the rejections weren’t based on her religious affiliation as a Christian, but rather her intention to not perform a mandatory part of the job.
Grimmark said the outcome was expected and she will now appeal the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
“We were hoping for something else, but we never thought it would go differently,” Grimmark told state broadcaster SVT.
The Swedish Association Of Health Professionals welcomed the decision as it sets a precedent for hospitals around the country.
“I am happy for every woman in Sweden, every girl in Sweden who get the right to decide over their own bodies,” Sineva Ribeiro, the association’s chairwoman, told SVT. “This means our staff and our midwives have to follow the laws we have in Sweden and the rights of the patients.”
Grimmark is now left with a legal bill of about $170,000, which U.S. pro-life groups are helping her pay.
Sweden has one of the highest abortion rates in Europe with 20.8 per 1,000 women in 2011, according to UN figures. The abortion rate was 12.1 per 1,000 women in the U.S. in 2011.
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