In a landmark decision, Norway's Supreme Court has ruled that a Polish physician has the right to refuse to conduct procedures – in this case, birth control – that would violate her conscience.
The case unfolded in December 2015 when the General Practitioner Clinic in Sauherad fired Dr. Katarzyna Jachimowicz for refusing to insert IUDs into her female patients. She noted that an IUD or intrauterine device, can act as an abortifacient – a clear violation of her Roman Catholic faith.
According to Jachimowicz, the clinic was well aware of her pro-life stance when it hired her in 2010.
LifeSiteNews reports that in a meeting with her bosses, Jachimowicz explained, "Life begins at conception and I do not want to take part in destroying it."
"All present agreed to my conditions, but I did not ask for written confirmation, knowing that an oral agreement is valid as well," Jachimowicz told LifeSiteNews.
Jachimowicz – who has more than two decades of experience and who is also fluent in Polish, Russian, and Norwegian – was the first medical professional in Norway to be fired for exercising her right to freedom of conscience.
"Dr. Jachimowicz proved to be a reliable, professional practitioner for the many patients under her care. The notion that her employer could not accommodate her deeply held convictions seems absurd, especially since there is a lack of medical doctors in Norway," said Robert Clarke, director of European Advocacy for ADF International.
Despite pressure from the powers that be to abandon her moral convictions, the family physician stood her ground.
In the end, her perseverance paid off, with Norway's high court ruling in her favor – something Jachimowicz's attorney, Håkon Bleken, calls "a step in the right direction."
"Today's Supreme Court decision marks an important step in the right direction, not only for doctors but for people of faith in all professions," he said of the Oct. 11 decision. "The ruling protects one of the most fundamental rights, the right to act in accordance with one's deeply held beliefs."