In Sweden “abortion rights” come into conflict with “rights to conscience”

There are no such things as “absolute” human rights. There are only privileges which various societies variously deem to be the rights of their members (and sometimes of their non-members). “Rights” are nothing more than “privileges” granted by a body which claims the authority to grant such privileges. Very often such “rights” are granted even though the body granting the privilege has not the power or capability to ensure the privilege, even where the body is a State and has introduced legislation about it.

(I note in passing that no Law of God or Man ensures – or can ensure – compliance with the Law. It is only the Laws of Nature which enjoy 100% compliance and where compliance is inherent within the existence of the Law. Which suggests to me that the Laws of Nature rank higher than the Law of any god or of any man).

I do not look to any body or society to grant me the “right” to have an opinion (or to think or to breathe for that matter). I just have opinions on virtually everything but I claim no “right” that others must listen to or pay any attention to my opinions. And even if every other person disagrees, it remains my opinion. Opinions are neither right or wrong – they exist in a cognitive space which is undisturbed by rightness or wrongness. And so I have opinions also about abortion and infanticide and eugenics. I take “life” as originating from parents and passing from their sperm and eggs to the conception of a new identity and then a birth as all being part of the same continuum. I think a new “identity” is created at the moment of conception and am therefore uncertain as to

…. what is it that makes aborting a foetus and preventing a child from being born much less disturbing than terminating the existence of that same child after birth?

Whether to have an abortion or not is entirely a matter for the woman concerned – in my opinion. Whether others should assist her or not is a matter for them – in my opinion. But in Sweden where the State has determined that abortion is a “privilege” it has granted under certain circumstances, it has also – to try and ensure compliance – made it a duty and obligatory for health care workers to assist in such abortions. And that impinges on the “rights” of those workers in their choice whether to help or not.

Swedish Radio:

The abortion issue can sail up as a conflict area within the conservative Alliance parties. The new Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor has reiterated the call for a conscience clause. But the proposal was rejected by the Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund. “It is not reasonable. Health care operates under legislation to be able to perform abortions under certain criteria and conditions. Then the staff who are in health care must perform accordingly” says Jan Björklund.

The Christian Democrats have long called for the introduction of a conscience clause which would means that midwives who do not want to perform abortions should be able to avoid it. But the previous party leadership with Göran Hägglund at the top, decided not to pursue the matter.

Ebba Busch Thor, who yesterday was elected as the new Christian Democrats leader, has in several interviews in recent months raised the conscience clause and she now wants to get the party to run with it. This would then be a change of course for the Christian Democrats.

If this is what happens Busch Thor can expect to meet resistance from Alliance colleague Jan Björklund. “For the Liberal Party this is not an issue. We are different parties and of course we have different views on some issues. It’s nothing new. Then if the Christian Democrats intend to pursue this type of question harder, we would of course have discussions in the Alliance” he said.

Anna Starbrink, the Liberal Party’s strong woman in Stockholm and responsible for health care is upset. “The woman’s right to abortion must be that which rules. There can be no doubt about it. If a woman seeks an abortion, she should not be questioned and met by staff who refuse to perform their duties. It nibbles the right to abortion at the edges. If it hampers women from getting an abortion, the law would have been sidelined” says Anna Starbrink.

In Sweden abortion is available “on demand” upto the 18th week of pregnancy. Between the 18th and 22nd week permission is needed from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). In very special cases, later abortions are permitted if the foetus is not viable.

Currently around 25% of all known pregnancies in Sweden end in abortion. It is interesting to compare this figure with infant mortality rates (infant deaths in the first year after after birth). In today’s Sweden this figure is at about 0.3%. But todays abortions are comparable to the infant mortality rates of 300 years ago:

High infant mortality rates plagued communities throughout Europe until the beginning of the twentieth century. Even in the middle of the 1800s, a quarter of all babies born in many European countries died before their first birthday. At the start of the nineteenth century in France, less than one half of children lived to be ten years old. In Sweden as a whole, the infant mortality rate in the late 1700s was about twenty percent.

Medical science it would seem has enabled the dramatic reduction in infant mortality and has also enabled an equivalent increase in the number of abortions. After-birth, involuntary termination of life has been replaced by a before-birth, voluntary termination.

While it seems logical that every women decide for herself if she wishes to have an abortion or not, it does not seem logical – to me – that others should be forced – coerced by the threat of losing their jobs – to participate in her decision.

Does the Swedish “right to have an abortion” override the individual’s “right to have a conscience”?

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One Response to “In Sweden “abortion rights” come into conflict with “rights to conscience””

  1. President of India has difficulty distinguishing between Swiss and Swedish | The k2p blog Says:

    […] total rate of abortion is probably a good thing. (Of course Sweden today has abortion on demand and abortion rates today are at the same level as infant mortality rates of 300 years ago). The interviewer dwells on the Nirbhaya, Delhi rape case and tries to get the President to admit […]

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