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Samvetsfrihet som rättsligt begrepp – En rättsvetenskaplig analys av samvetsfrihetens självständiga betydelse

Wigen, Leonard LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The judgment of the Swedish Labour Court AD 2017 no 32 concerned a Christian midwife who wanted employment at three women’s clinics on the condition that she could not participate in abortion activities. In that regard, she claimed that the freedom of conscience should be distinguished from the freedom of religion under Article 9 in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court denied her claim. The ruling caused a major debate on the importance of the freedom of conscience in Sweden. The thesis is based on a rational natural law theory, which means that the conscience of the individual is somewhat congenital. Furthermore, the conscience of the individual should be distinguished from his or her religion. In light of the foregoing, the... (More)
The judgment of the Swedish Labour Court AD 2017 no 32 concerned a Christian midwife who wanted employment at three women’s clinics on the condition that she could not participate in abortion activities. In that regard, she claimed that the freedom of conscience should be distinguished from the freedom of religion under Article 9 in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court denied her claim. The ruling caused a major debate on the importance of the freedom of conscience in Sweden. The thesis is based on a rational natural law theory, which means that the conscience of the individual is somewhat congenital. Furthermore, the conscience of the individual should be distinguished from his or her religion. In light of the foregoing, the thesis aims to examine whether and if so, to what extent, the freedom of conscience has or should have an independent legal significance.

In domestic legislation there is a right due to inter alia moral concerns to avoid carrying out military service with weapons. However, there is no right in domestic legislation for healthcare professionals not to participate in abortion. Instead, the legislator calls on the employer to organise his activities so that adequate consideration is taken to conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare. Later case law from the European Court of Human Rights states that Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for a right to conscientious objection to military service. However, healthcare professionals are not given such a right. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have recently however adopted two resolutions inviting Council of Europe member states to develop comprehensive and clear regulations that define and regulate conscientious objection with regard to health and medical services.

The thesis’s conclusions are that the freedom of conscience has a particularly limited legal meaning. This is supported by the fact that the freedom of conscience only fulfils an actual function for conscripts. In the light of the rational natural law theory, the freedom of conscience is therefore quite ineffective for healthcare professionals. Their freedom of conscience must coincide with a belief or religion recognized by the European Convention on Human Rights to fulfil an actual function. Thus, new assessment criteria for the freedom of conscience are proposed. In this regard, it is proposed that the individual employee in certain circumstances should have the right to conscientious objection when he or she has not been able to take a stand in advance on subsequent work tasks. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Arbetsdomstolens dom AD 2017 nr 23 rörde en kristen barnmorska som hade villkorat en förfrågan om anställning vid tre kvinnokliniker med att hon inte kunde utföra aborter. Därvid gjorde hon gällande att samvetsfriheten skulle ses skild från religionsfriheten. Arbetsdomstolen besvarade denna fråga nekande. Målet föranledde en stor debatt rörande samvetsfrihetens betydelse i Sverige. Framställningen anlägger en rationell naturrättslig teori som innebär att den enskildes samvete är något medfött. Vidare ska den enskildes samvete ses skild från religiösa övertygelser. Mot den angivna bakgrunden syftar uppsatsen till att utreda om och vid sådant förhållande i vilken utsträckning samvetsfriheten har eller borde ha en självständig rättslig... (More)
Arbetsdomstolens dom AD 2017 nr 23 rörde en kristen barnmorska som hade villkorat en förfrågan om anställning vid tre kvinnokliniker med att hon inte kunde utföra aborter. Därvid gjorde hon gällande att samvetsfriheten skulle ses skild från religionsfriheten. Arbetsdomstolen besvarade denna fråga nekande. Målet föranledde en stor debatt rörande samvetsfrihetens betydelse i Sverige. Framställningen anlägger en rationell naturrättslig teori som innebär att den enskildes samvete är något medfött. Vidare ska den enskildes samvete ses skild från religiösa övertygelser. Mot den angivna bakgrunden syftar uppsatsen till att utreda om och vid sådant förhållande i vilken utsträckning samvetsfriheten har eller borde ha en självständig rättslig betydelse.

I inhemsk lagstiftning återfinns en rätt för värnpliktiga att på grund av bland annat moraliska betänkligheter slippa genomföra värnplikt med vapen. Någon rätt att enligt inhemsk lagstiftning följa sina moraliska betänkligheter vid abortingrepp finns emellertid inte för hälso- och sjukvårdspersonal. Arbetsgivaren uppmanas dock att organisera sin verksamhet så att hänsyn tas till hälso- och sjukvårdspersonalens samvetsbetänkligheter vid abortverksamhet. Av praxis från Europadomstolen framgår att artikel 9 i Europakonventionen innehåller en rätt för värnpliktiga att på grund av allvarligt menade samvetsbetänkligheter slippa genomföra militärtjänstgöring med vapen. Någon sådan rätt finns dock inte för hälso- och sjukvårdspersonal att slippa medverka vid abortingrepp. För att åtnjuta skydd måste arbetstagarens samvete sammanfalla med en av artikel 9 skyddad religion- eller trosuppfattning. Europarådets parlamentariska församling har emellertid genom två antagna resolutioner understrukit vikten av en balans mellan hälso- och sjukvårdspersonalens samvetsfrihet och den abortsökande kvinnas rätt att få tillgång till adekvat sjukvård inom rimlig tid.

Framställningens slutsatser är att samvetsfriheten har en synnerligen begränsad betydelse. Det anförda underbyggs av att den endast fyller en faktisk funktion för värnpliktiga vapenvägrare. Mot bakgrund av den anlagda teorin är samvetsfriheten därmed tämligen innehållslös för arbetstagare. Sålunda föreslås nya bedömningskriterier för samvetsfriheten. Härvidlag föreslås att arbetstagaren under vissa omständigheter ska ha en rätt att följa sina samvetsgrundade värderingar när denne inte på förhand kunnat ta ställning till senare tillkomna arbetsuppgifter. (Less)
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author
Wigen, Leonard LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Freedom of Conscience as a Legal Concept – A Legal Analysis of the Independent Meaning of Freedom of Conscience
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt, statsrätt, rättsvetenskap
language
Swedish
id
8940856
date added to LUP
2018-06-08 14:27:34
date last changed
2018-06-08 14:27:34
@misc{8940856,
  abstract     = {The judgment of the Swedish Labour Court AD 2017 no 32 concerned a Christian midwife who wanted employment at three women’s clinics on the condition that she could not participate in abortion activities. In that regard, she claimed that the freedom of conscience should be distinguished from the freedom of religion under Article 9 in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court denied her claim. The ruling caused a major debate on the importance of the freedom of conscience in Sweden. The thesis is based on a rational natural law theory, which means that the conscience of the individual is somewhat congenital. Furthermore, the conscience of the individual should be distinguished from his or her religion. In light of the foregoing, the thesis aims to examine whether and if so, to what extent, the freedom of conscience has or should have an independent legal significance. 

In domestic legislation there is a right due to inter alia moral concerns to avoid carrying out military service with weapons. However, there is no right in domestic legislation for healthcare professionals not to participate in abortion. Instead, the legislator calls on the employer to organise his activities so that adequate consideration is taken to conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare. Later case law from the European Court of Human Rights states that Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for a right to conscientious objection to military service. However, healthcare professionals are not given such a right. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have recently however adopted two resolutions inviting Council of Europe member states to develop comprehensive and clear regulations that define and regulate conscientious objection with regard to health and medical services.

The thesis’s conclusions are that the freedom of conscience has a particularly limited legal meaning. This is supported by the fact that the freedom of conscience only fulfils an actual function for conscripts. In the light of the rational natural law theory, the freedom of conscience is therefore quite ineffective for healthcare professionals. Their freedom of conscience must coincide with a belief or religion recognized by the European Convention on Human Rights to fulfil an actual function. Thus, new assessment criteria for the freedom of conscience are proposed. In this regard, it is proposed that the individual employee in certain circumstances should have the right to conscientious objection when he or she has not been able to take a stand in advance on subsequent work tasks.},
  author       = {Wigen, Leonard},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt,statsrätt,rättsvetenskap},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Samvetsfrihet som rättsligt begrepp – En rättsvetenskaplig analys av samvetsfrihetens självständiga betydelse},
  year         = {2018},
}