Parliament Votes to Campaign to Force Health Professionals to Perform Abortions in the Council of Europe Member States

Country: Sweden

Date of incident: May 11, 2011

The Swedish Parliament voted to campaign against a European resolution, which reiterates the right to conscientious objection for health professionals who do not want to perform abortions.

With an overwhelming majority of 271 votes, and the support of the Green party, the left wing, and the social democrats, the Swedish Parliament instructed the country delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to advocate a change of Resolution 1763 passed in October 2010. The resolution says: "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 Parliament considers the state to be a key player on “sexual and reproductive health and rights”, which should therefore support efforts to make abortions free, safe and legal for all women in Europe. However, while there is no international right to abortion, there is an internationally recognized right to conscientious objection that the Swedish authorities are advocating to undermine under the new resolution that states: “The standing committee notices that the issue of abortion is not covered by the EU treaty. The standing committee remain negative to the content of Resolution 1763 (2010) and consider the [Swedish] delegation to take more action to accomplish a change of this resolution.” Sources: