Religions- och samvetsfrihet inom abortvården - En komparativ undersökning av barnmorskors möjligheter att av samvetsskäl befrias från arbetsuppgifter i Sverige och Norge
Sammanfattning: The aim of this essay is to investigate the freedom of religion and conscience for midwives at the abortion care unit in Sweden and Norway. To gain clarity about the regulation in these countries a legal judicial method has been used. Legislation, preparatory works, court decisions and legal scholarly work in both of the countries have been analyzed. A comparative perspective, particularly to the Norwegian regulation, would increase the understanding for the Swedish regulation. Norway has adopted a regulation that gives midwives the right to refuse to perform or participate in abortions due to their religious or moral beliefs, also known as conscientious objection. Sweden, on the other hand, does not have any judicial possibilities for midwives to work in accordance with their religion and conscience. The question of conscientious objection to abortion for midwives was recently brought before the Swedish Labour Court in the case AD 2017 nr 23. The right to act in accordance with your religion and conscience is seen as a matter of discrimination in Sweden. The court came to the conclusion that the midwife in this case had not been subjected to an unlawful discrimination. After the court’s decision it seems that there is no legal protection for midwives freedom of religion and conscience in the abortion care in Sweden. In Norway, the possibility of conscientious objection gives midwives a legal protection for their religious and moral beliefs. To ensure women’s right to abortion, this protection has been subjected to limits and conditions. The Swedish legislator argues that there is a conflict of interest between the religious rights of midwives and women’s right to abortion, where the former must submit to the latter. The Norwegian legislator believes that these interests do not necessarily need to be in conflict with each other, rather a question of regulation. By reorganizing the abortion care, considerations can be taken both to the midwives’ desire for reservation and the women’s right to abortion. If it is not possible to ensure both interests, women’s right to abortion has priority. The consequences of Sweden adopting a regulation with the possibility of conscientious objection are not clear. This is only achievable through more detailed studies on similar cases of this regulation in other countries. Keywords: abortion, conscientious objection, discrimination, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, midwife.
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