National Coalition Party MPs Kai Mykkänen and Anne-Mari Virolainen have sought to put daylight between the government and comments by Foreign Minister Timo Soini on a vote by Irish people to legalise abortion.
On Sunday Soini, a self-described Roman Catholic, wrote about the outcome of the Irish referendum on abortion rights, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. The Blue Reform MP observed that the world had become "odd" if it was now necessary to find reasons to defend life. He concluded that he would defend the right to life “at a suitable and inappropriate moment”.
Following the minister’s blog post, the two NCP ministers took to Twitter Monday morning to clarify that Soini’s views did not represent that of the government.
Greens' Niinistö flags blog post
Interior Minister Mykkänen and Foreign Trade and Development Minister Virolainen weighed in after Green Party MP Ville Niinistö enquired about the administration’s position regarding Soini’s comments. Niinistö tweeted that Soini’s views on the matter were puzzling.
“It is incomprehensible that the Finnish Foreign Minister would write a blog in which he mourns women in Ireland receiving the right to abortion. Women’s rights and gender equality are pillars of Finnish foreign policy,” Niinistö tweeted.
“Timo Soini’s opinion is not Finland’s official position on abortion,” Mykkänen responded to Niinistö. “As development minister I would have increased funding for sexual and reproductive health as well as support for reproductive rights including access to safe abortions in developing countries,” he added.
“The issue is just as 'Kaitsu' [Kai] said. In all of its interactions Finland promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights. Most recently at a meeting of development ministers on Tuesday. The right to abortion is not a matter of opinion. It is a question of human rights,” Virolainen chimed in.
Contrary to Soini, his Swedish counterpart, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström applauded the result of the Irish referendum.