The European Court of Human Rights has refused to take up the case of two Swedish nurses who were denied midwife jobs because they were not willing to perform abortions. A Christian law firm called it a “dangerous departure from the Court’s purpose in protecting fundamental freedoms.”
The court said the case of the nurses, Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen, who were retrained as midwives but were not given jobs due to their religious beliefs against carrying out abortions, was inadmissible to be heard by the EHRC, according to Reuters.
The Christian midwives had claimed that authorities violated the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing jobs to them.
The court’s decision cannot be appealed.
“We are very disappointed by the Court’s decision not to take up the cases of Ms. Grimmark and Ms Steen,” Robert Clarke, deputy director of Alliance Defending Freedom International, said in a statement, according to Premier. “A positive judgment from the Court would have been an important step in the protection of the right to freedom of conscience.”
Clarke added, “Medical professionals should be able to work without being forced to choose between their deeply held convictions and their careers. Although freedom of conscience is protected as a fundamental right in almost every other European country, the decision today marks a missed opportunity to uphold this important protection in Sweden. In its short written decision, the Court agreed that Sweden had interfered with the rights of these midwives.”
A Swedish pro-choice group, RFSU, celebrated the rejection of the case. “It is not a human right for nursing staff to refuse to provide care,” said RFSU’s Hans Linde. “This is an important decision that in the long term will help to protect women’s health, right to good quality care and to be treated with respect when seeking an abortion.”
However, Grimmark said she chose to become a midwife “because I wanted to help bring life into this world.”
“I cannot understand why the Swedish government refuses to accommodate my conscientious convictions,” she said. “I am now working in Norway, where my conscience is respected, but no one can explain why Sweden cannot do the same.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar