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Local authority backs down over abortion opt-out study

A local authority will not now look into whether medical staff could refuse to carry out abortions due to their beliefs. 

The local Christian Democrats in Kronoberg had called for the study, but their centre-right political partners in the local authority, the Liberals and Moderates, have now backed down and said they won't support the plans. That means the study will not now take place.

Earlier this year, Christian midwife Ellinor Grimmark in Jönköping sued the health authorities when they withdrew an offer of a job after they found out she objects to taking part in abortions.

Now, in Kronoberg, the county south of Jönköping, the politicians originally voted in favour of looking into the possibility of introducing a conscience clause, which would give someone like Grimmark a chance to work as a midwife.

"I don't think you can force people to violate their own inner convictions. I think respect for differences among patients - but also staff - is very important if we are going to get a good, humane and warm health care," Eva Johnsson, the Christian Democrat representative in Kronoberg county executive board, had told SVT Smålandsnytt.

However, following media coverage of the idea, the local conservative Moderates and the Liberal party decided to u-turn, and both now say they oppose the Christian Democrat proposal. 

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