Outspoken pro-life politician enjoys meteoric rise in deeply pro-abortion Finland
HELSINKI, FINLAND, September 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life Finnish politician has experienced a meteoric rise in 2011, catapulting into second place with 11% popular support as a possible presidential candidate in the deeply pro-abortion country.
Timo Soini is the co-founder and current leader of the True Finns Party. Known as a European Union skeptic and populist, he has served as city councilor in Espoo, Finland and member of the Finnish parliament. In 2009, he became the first True Finn in the European Union Parliament, winning Finland’s highest personal vote share.
However, it was his party’s showing in the 2011 Finnish parliamentary election that signaled a new day for Soini. Party representation rose from only five seats to 39, with Soini winning the most votes of all candidates, even as he challenged Finland’s Foreign Minister and the Finance Minister in the same electoral district. Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat concluded, “Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books.”
A Catholic convert, Soini is unabashed about his pro-life views, making it clear that he needs “nobody’s permission to be pro-life.”
Soini has explained that he sees no political problem as a result of his views and beliefs. “Although we are only some 10,000 Catholics here and I have been openly Catholic and everybody knows where I stand on these moral issues, that I am against euthanasia and abortion, but it does not matter, because people think that if you are genuine in your faith, they don’t care,” he said.
Commenting on his pro-life stance, Soini says, “Those who say (they are) more tolerant than others have been extremely intolerant.”
Soini cites Blessed John Paul II’s pro-life witness as instrumental in his present beliefs, “because John Paul II was very brave to talk of the sacredness of human life and against abortion.” The platform of Soini’s True Finns Party is based on “the right” for all members of society “to a life of human dignity.”
Soini has said that marriage “should only be between a man and a woman.” He is outspoken in his defense of displaying the crucifix in public buildings, and he fought for mention of Europe’s Christian roots in the text of the European Union constitution.
While pro-life Soini represents the Finnish people in politics, he does not represent the Finnish status quo on abortion. In 2010, Finland recorded 10,181 abortions, which is 8.6 per 1,000 women, aged 15 to 49. Abortions are provided free-of-charge in hospitals under national health insurance. The International Planned Parenthood Federation says that in practice, a woman can get an abortion on demand in the country.
Soini is still undecided on Finland’s 2012 presidential election. The conservative National Coalition Party’s parliamentary speaker Sauli Niinisto polls at a commanding 60%. Soini’s second place showing of 11% is, nonetheless, significant. As his party’s candidate in the 2006 presidential election, the pro-life politician finished fifth out of the eight candidates in the first round, with a vote share of 3.4%.
“Miracles do happen,” he said when questioned on January’s presidential race. “You never know, if I had said this time last year to anybody that we would win 39 seats in Parliament in the following general elections, all would have laughed at me.”