Publicerad: 12 april 2017


No discrimination of midwife who refuses to participate in abortions

Case Grimmark v Region Jönköping County, judgment in Swedish Labour Court. Region Jönköping County has not discriminated a midwife who has declared that she refuses to participate in abortion care due to her religious beliefs.

Sophie Thörne

Sophie Thörne

The Swedish Labour Court rejects her action for damages. The case started when the County was unable to offer her a position as a midwife since abortion care is a task assignment at the Women’s Health Care Clinic.

– The health care organization puts the patients’ right to good and safe health care first. Abortion care is to be available and performed without delay at all Women’s Health Care Clinics in all Counties. To ensure this, all employees involved in the abortion care must be able to fully participate in the task at hand, says Sophie Thörne, Head of the Labour Law Unit at the Swedish Association of local Authorities and Regions, and the County’s legal counsel in the case.

The Labour Court affirms the judgment of Jönköping District Court that the woman was not discriminated and that she is not entitled to damages. The judgement is consistent with previous practice in the area of discrimination law.

– Each person has the right to his or her private beliefs, but an employee cannot define their own work assignments. The health care is to be organized according to the needs of the patient – not the needs of the employees, says Sophie Thörne.

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