Swedish Nurse Fired for Refusing to Assist in Abortion

Country: Sweden

Date of incident: April 10, 2014

In January 2014 a Swedish nurse has filed a complaint of religious discrimination with Sweden’s equality commission after the hospital where she interned as a midwife sacked her for refusing to assist in abortions. The Ombudsperson for Discrimination concluded that Mrs Grimmark has not been discriminated because her conscientious objection stood against the ”availability of abortion care” and the ”protection of health” of patients requiring abortion.

Ellinor Grimmark claims that the offer of continued work was retracted after she informed her employer that she would not assist in abortions due to her religious convictions.
Grimmark has now finished her studies and found work at another hospital, where staff have told her that her refusal to assist with abortions was not an impediment.
On the 10th of April 2014 the Swedish Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) decided in the case of the Swedish midwife Ellinor Grimmark vs Jönköping County Council.
DO notifies correctly in its decision that the conditions of employment as a midwife – including the task of performing abortions - could be seen as a requirement that may put people with certain religions or creed in a discriminatory position. However, the conclusion of the DO is that Mrs Grimmark has not been discriminated, and that her conscientious objection stands against the ”availability of abortion care” and the ”protection of health” of patients requiring abortion.