The case of Ellinor Grimmark v. Sweden in the European Court of Human Rights

Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers represent the midwife Ellinor Grimmark, who was denied work as a midwife at delivery clinics at several hospitals in Jönköping, because she, due to her conscience and deep religious conviction, is unable to perform abortions or any act that in her view ends a human life.

Ellinor Grimmark also lost a promised job as a midwife at Värnamo Hospital due to her participation in an interview in the local newspaper. The County Council explained that they simply did not want an employee with Ellinor Grimmark’s views, despite having already been offered employment at the hospital, with freedom of conscience granted. Despite an acute midwife shortage in most Swedish Counties, Ellinor Grimmark was denied work as a midwife in delivery and maternity care.

Ellinor Grimmark has invoked freedom of conscience, ie. the freedom to follow one’s conscience, one’s moral conviction, in words, in action, or failure to act. Freedom of conscience is counted as a human right, along with the freedom of religion and thought in Article 9 of the European Convention.

Since Ellinor Grimmark has de facto been given a professional ban in Sweden, she works as a midwife in Norway, where health care staff is granted freedom of conscience. The majority of the Council of Europe’s members, including the neighboring Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, protect the right to freedom of conscience, and the Swedish County Council’s attitude to freedom of conscience is unique in this European perspective.

Ellinor Grimmark, after losing in the domestic proceedings, has decided to file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, since she believes that the Swedish state violated, and continues to violate, her right to freedom of religion and conscience under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention).

The complaint also addresses violations of her right to freedom of thought pursuant to article 9, as well as her right to freedom of opinion and opinion, according to article 10, in the light of the treatment she has been subjected to by Swedish authorities. Finally, Ellinor Grimmark complains that she has been subjected to unlawful (direct or indirect) discrimination, according to article 14.

If the case is admissible, the European Court will examine whether Sweden, through the County Council’s actions, has violated the rights established by the European Convention. Such an examination means that the court examines whether the restrictions have a legitimate purpose, if they have legal foundation, are proportionate and necessary in a democratic society.

Read the appendix to the complaint in English here:
Final Appendix Additional Submissions Ellinor Grimmark

Press release 13 March 20. The European Court of Human Rights announces decisions regarding the midwife cases on freedom of conscience. Read here:

Selected articles (Swedish):

Coming soon.

Ellinor Grimmark about the process in the European Court.

Ellinor Grimmark about her work as a midwife in Norway.

Ellinor Grimmark on financing the midwife case.

Ellinor Grimmark at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Attorney Percy Bratt, Attorney Jörgen Olson, Chief of Justice Ruth Nordström and Lawyer Rebecca Ahlstrand on the legal process.