Swedish midwife denied job over abortion refusal

Another midwife in Sweden has been denied employment because she refused to carry out abortions, prompting concerns that the country is facing a “serious human rights issue”.

The case of Linda Steen comes just two months after a district court in Sweden ruled against a Christian midwife, who had also been refused work because she did not want to perform abortions.

Linda Steen has now launched legal action after a women’s clinic said she could not be employed because it is ‘not their approach’ to allow for exceptions on conscience grounds.

Human rights

The nursing unit manager even informed another potential employer about Steen’s views on abortion, resulting in a further interview being cancelled.

Steen is being supported by the religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International.

Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy with ADF International, commented: “Sweden is facing a serious human rights issue: another midwife has been forced to start legal proceedings because she will not carry out abortions.

Freedom of conscience

“These midwives trained to bring life into the world. Now they are being punished because they refuse to do something they believe to be morally wrong”, he said.

“Freedom of conscience is protected by the European Convention of Human Rights, to which Sweden has agreed to adhere.”

“It is the only country in the European Union, which does not have either a general conscience provision or specific laws protecting medical staff.”

Protect life

He added: “The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Medical centres should respect that desire and conviction.”

In the UK, the Abortion Act 1967 includes a conscientious objection clause allowing doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in abortions.

Related Resources