A doctor who lost her job after taking a stand for the sanctity of life has won a major legal battle in Norway.
In 2015, Dr Katarzyna Jachimowicz was sacked for refusing to comply with a demand to provide abortifacient devices.
She was told to choose between following her conscience or keeping her job.
Jachimowicz lost an earlier court judgment, but the Court of Appeal has now reversed that decision, ruling that her rights were violated.
Jachimowicz’s case is the first on this issue in Norway’s courts and represents a landmark victory for freedom of conscience.
The Court ruled that her employer, the municipality of Sauherad, broke Articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights by firing her.
Article 9 states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.
‘Hope for Norway’
Speaking after the court’s decision, Jachimowicz said: “There is hope for Norway”.
The municipality of Sauherad has been ordered to cover her legal costs, over £50,000.
However, it has a month to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court in Oslo.
Change in the law
When Jachimowicz first started working in Sauherad, conscience protections were in place for medical professionals.
But after several teenagers were refused birth control pills by another medic, a public campaign against pro-life doctors began.
It led to the law being changed in 2014 when the conscience clause for family doctors was altered, making it illegal for doctors to refuse to provide any form of birth control.
Jachimowicz, a Roman Catholic, was supported in her legal action by the Norwegian Christian Medical Association.