HELSINKI, Finland, September 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL-GO), Scott Fischbach, met with Finnish Interior Minister Dr. Päivi Räsänen in the Finnish Parliament House last week to discuss abortion and the need for a pro-life movement in Finland.
Earlier this summer Dr. Räsänen caused an uproar in Europe when she used a speech at a Lutheran Church conference to call for a discussion on abortion in her country.
Dr. Räsänen compared abortion to “butchery” and said that animals are better protected under Finnish law than unborn human beings.
“Animals may not be slaughtered in a painful manner, but it’s not permitted to even discuss the painfulness of abortion,” said Räsänen, a physician who also serves as leader of the Christian Democratic Party, at the Lutheran Church event in Kankaanpää.
“It is a real honor to meet with the Interior Minister of Finland,” Fischbach stated in a press release. “Her courage to speak out for the unborn from the highest levels of government is very noble. Igniting a national conversation about abortion and keeping the human rights cause of life in front of the people is a tremendous victory!”
“We also discussed the need for a strong and vibrant right to life organization in Finland that can reach across all faith lines and to those outside the faith community with a strong human rights message – especially for young people,” Fischbach said.
Fischbach noted that when he and Dr. Räsänen got to Parliament they were met by a rally of young Christian people who were holding a prayer rally for parliamentarians. Dr. Räsänen gave a short speech to encourage the youth, some of whom held a banner on the parliament steps that read “Youth of Finland Praying,” to persevere in their efforts for their country.
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During her remarks earlier this summer, Dr. Räsänen said there is no stage of pregnancy where abortion should be allowed.
“An abortion-age child is not a numb piece of tissue, rather an individual that can feel pain,” she said.
In her speech Räsänen also highlighted the fact that Finland and Sweden are the only two western European countries that do not allow health care workers the right to refuse to participate in abortion.
“We have to consider whether we have the courage to act in the face of general public opinion or norms, peer pressure, and sometimes even the law, if these contradict the word of God,” Räsänen said. She added, “We must obey God rather than men,” when the law conflicts with conscience.
Dr. Räsänen described abortion as a “silenced taboo and a Pandora’s box,” observing that “the consequences of opening this up are feared.”
William Poehler, communications director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, told LifeSiteNews that public discussion about abortion in Finland is virtually nonexistent.
“Almost no one ever would discuss it,” Poehler said. “Päivi has put it front and center and now the conversation rages and that is a tremendous victory. We encouraged her to be strong and to know that there are many, many people across the globe that are praying for her and her courageous stand for life.”
Poehler added that Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life has a natural interest in pro-life activism in Finland.
“Nearly a quarter of all Minnesotans can trace Finnish ancestry in their heritage and 23 percent are Lutherans in faith,” Poehler told LifeSiteNews.