May 12, 2011 ( – The Swedish parliament has overwhelmingly passed an order instructing Swedish politicians at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to fight against the rights of doctors to refuse to participate in abortions.

The Riksdag passed a resolution, by a vote of 271 to 20, to condemn an October 2010 PACE document supporting conscience rights for doctors.

The text of the Swedish motion says that the PACE resolution, “implies that health care workers should have the possibility to choose not to perform abortions.”

In September last year, a resolution put forward in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) by a UK member and abortion activist Christine McCafferty, to “regulate” conscientious objectors to abortion across Europe. The proposed resolution, titled, “Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection,” had been identified by pro-life advocates as part of a larger effort at the European Union and PACE to establish abortion as a universal human right.

In what was hailed as a major victory against the European abortion lobby, that resolution was soundly defeated in a vote; its title was instead changed to “The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care,” and its wording completely reversed to assert the rights of medical practitioners.

The new wording read, in part, “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.”

The Swedish motion called upon their delegation at the PACE to “take more action” to reverse the reversal.

“Sweden should support efforts which makes abortions free, safe and legal for all women. Sweden is one of few countries who are central in the international work focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Johan Lundell, Secretary General of the pro-life group Ja till Livet, Sweden, said: “Swedish law does not in any way recognize the right to conscientious objection for health care workers and we have not seen any action, what so ever, from the Swedish Minister for Social Affairs, Göran Hägglund, also Party Leader for the Swedish Christian Democratic Party, since the resolution 1763 was taken.”

John Smeaton, head of Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, commented: “Sweden’s vote today shows the lengths to which the supporters of abortion are prepared to go to promote the killing of unborn children. There are no international conventions which recognise a right to abortion, whereas conscientious objection is a basic principle of international human rights law.”