EXCLUSIVE: Swedish pro-life midwife appeals ruling that she must perform abortions, seeks financial help
SWEDEN, April 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Swedish midwife has filed an appeal against a local court for ruling last November that medical facilities can force midwives to violate their consciences by requiring them to assist in abortion.
“The appeal has already been submitted,” said midwife Ellinor Grimmark, a Christian and married mother of two, in an interview with LifeSiteNews. “One must be able to disagree with performing abortions as a midwife. In a democratic society it is important to respect freedom of expression and thought, and freedom of conscience.”
In 2014 Grimmark filed a discrimination complaint with her country’s equality watchdog after the hospital where she interned as a midwife sacked her the previous year for refusing to assist in an abortion.
Grimmark then went on to seek employment at three separate maternity centers, but was turned down every time because of her pro-life convictions. In the summer of 2014 she sued the centers in the Jönköping district court for violating her human rights by refusing her a job because of her religious and moral convictions.
But the court ultimately ruled against her, arguing that it is “necessary” for job seekers at maternity centers to perform abortions. Maternity centers have a “duty to ensure that women have effective access to abortion,” the court stated. The court ordered Grimmark to pay court costs of her opponent — in this case, the local government — amounting to 100,000 USD.
"I truly believe in my heart that life is sacred and given by God. This is the view of most Christians worldwide and it needs to be respected.”
Grimmark told LifeSiteNews that the ruling could easily cripple her family, even forcing them to sell their home. A webpage to fundraise for the family’s legal fees has been set up at WonderWe.
“Yes, we have two children. Even though my team of attorneys are working many hours pro bono, without financial support, we would have been forced to sell our home to be able to finance the court costs,” she said, adding: “Within such a system, it is almost impossible for individuals to get a fair trial concerning their human rights.”
Grimmark husband Carl Johan said he and his wife are not stopping until justice has been done. With enough financial support, they plan to "appeal this case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights and show them that our pro-life views must be respected."
Grimmark said that the ruling against her is unfair.
“Maybe what I consider being the most unfair part is the fact that even though I have never asked for job positions that require abortion-related work, I'm also being banned from working as a midwife in clinics that do not deal with abortions. This fact has been ignored in a major part of the media debate, by the employers, and ultimately by the court,” she said.
The midwife now works in Norway where her freedom of conscience is being respected.
“Considering the great shortage of midwives in maternity care it is not according to the best interest of the patient to force midwives like me to work in the neighboring country Norway,” she said.
She believes that driving the entire case are the progressive backers of a new moral order who cannot tolerate anyone who disagrees with their pro-death perspective.
“It’s considered a problem when somebody disagrees with the current consensus regarding abortion and doesn’t want to perform abortions because of his/her conscience. Others may feel questioned about their own actions by this and it creates strong reactions,” she said.
Despite the attack against her beliefs and freedoms, Grimmark said she remains unwavering in her pro-life commitment.
“My faith is of course a strong source of courage and strength in this situation. I truly believe in my heart that life is sacred and given by God. This is the view of most Christians worldwide and it needs to be respected.”
She said that freedom of conscience is necessary in any society that calls itself democratic and pluralistic.
“Freedom of conscience is so important. In the future it will otherwise be difficult for certain groups, e.g. religious, to work within health care. The debate about euthanasia is growing in Sweden (it is not allowed yet) and, just like with abortion, it should be unthinkable to not allow freedom of conscience if this becomes a part of our society,” she said.
“In ethics concerning death and life, especially in health care, one has to protect each individuals' right to listen to his/her conscience,” she added.
Editor’s Note: To help fund Ellinor Grimmark’s legal fees, click here.