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'Death Culture': Finnish Minister in Hot Water for Mourning Irish Abortion Vote

© AP Photo / Vesa Moilanen/LehtikuvaFinnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, leader of Finland's populist Finns Party for two decades, gives a press conference at the Helsinki International airport in Vantaa, Finland, Sunday, March 5, 2017.
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, leader of Finland's populist Finns Party for two decades, gives a press conference at the Helsinki International airport in Vantaa, Finland, Sunday, March 5, 2017. - Sputnik International
After the public outcry over his condemnation of Ireland's abortion vote, the Finnish foreign minister has explained that he's been opposed to "death culture" for decades and neither plans to change his views, nor feel ashamed for them. By contrast, fellow politicians rushed to stress that being anti-abortion is not Finland's official line.

Following the recent pro-abortion referendum in Ireland, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini of the Blue Reform Party has condemned its outcome in his blog.

The former leader of the right-wing Finns Party observed that the world has become "odd" if it is now necessary to find reasons to defend life. Soini also stressed that it was vital to defend the right to life during moments considered suitable and inappropriate alike.

Following the minister's post, Green Party MP Ville Niinistö found Soini's views "puzzling." He also enquired what the government's position on that matter was.

"It is incomprehensible that the Finnish Foreign Minister would lament women in Ireland receiving the right to abortion. Women's rights and gender equality are pillars of Finnish foreign policy," Niinistö tweeted.

​To answer his question, two Finnish ministers, both representing the ruling National Coalition Party, rushed to clarify that Soini's views didn't match those of the government.

"Timo Soini's opinion is not Finland's official position on abortion," Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen responded. "During my time as development minister, I increased funding for sexual and reproductive health as well as support for reproductive rights including access to safe abortions in developing countries," he added.

​Finland's current Development Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen agreed with his party colleague.

"In all of its interactions Finland promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights," Virolainen assured. "The right to abortion is not a matter of opinion. It is a question of human rights," she added.

​Contrary to Soini, his Swedish counterpart, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström gave the thumbs up to the result of the Irish referendum.

​When confronted by journalists, Soini retorted Finland doesn't have the habit of congratulating countries on their referendum results, stressing that Helsinki didn't do it after the Brexit vote, for that matter, national broadcaster Yle reported.

READ MORE: Women With Muslim Background Top Danish Abortion Statistics

Soini also stressed that he sincerely opposed all forms of "death culture," such as abortion or euthanasia. He also said that he has had the same attitude throughout his 30-year political career and has never been ashamed of his opinions.

Soini also emphasized that he never criticized the Irish vote as such because it yielded "clear" results, but stressed that he still was entitled to his own opinion that life is holy.

Soini in a devout Roman Catholic, which is a rarity in predominantly Lutheran Finland. Having led the Finns Party for several decades, he stepped down in 2017 and left to the Blue Reform, formed by fellow defectors.

Last week, a historic sixth referendum saw the repeal of Ireland's long-standing ban on abortion in a two to one win.

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