Norway's Supreme Court rules in favour of Christian doctor in conscientious objection case

Dr Katarzyna Jachimowicz with Robert Clarke of the Alliance Defending Freedom International

Norway's Supreme Court has found in favour of a Christian doctor who was fired for refusing to assist abortions on moral grounds.

Dr Katarzyna Jachimowicz lost her job at a clinic in Sauherad after she refused to distribute abortion-inducing drugs because it went against her Christian beliefs.

When Dr Jachimowicz challenged her firing, a lower court ruled that she had acted within her rights to practise medicine according to her conscience.

However, the healthcare authorities appealed the ruling and the case went before the Supreme Court in August.

Now Norway's Supreme Court has also ruled that she acted within her rights when she refused to follow through on a medical procedure that she morally objected to.

Her attorney Hakon Bleken said the ruling was 'an important step in the right direction' not only for doctors but people of faith in all professions.

'The ruling protects one of the most fundamental rights, the right to act in accordance with one's deeply held beliefs,' said Bleken. 

'Dr Jachimowicz takes her vocation as a medical professional seriously. She vowed to protect life, and objected to having any part in taking it. The court established today that she had every right to do so.'

Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International, which supported the case, said the ruling sets new standards for the protection of freedom of conscience in Norway and across Europe.

'Nobody should be forced to choose between following their conscience or pursuing their profession,' he said.

'This win comes at a time when medical professionals across Europe are feeling increasingly threatened in their positions by a pressure to do things they believe to be morally wrong and unethical. As such, it provides a valuable legal precedent in protecting this inherent freedom across the continent.

'This judgment sends a clear message to the Norwegian authorities that conscience is a fundamental right under the European Convention on Human Rights which must be protected.'