Fire and Brimstone in Fornication Nation: but we’re not laughing about the X case ruling being voted down

By Aisling | April 21 2012 | 88 Comments

It was a speech crafted during the time of Noahs Ark and it resonated with Old Testament fervour.  Displaying a complete lack of knowledge in everything from biology to the mores of the 21st century, right wing Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin had the whole country on its knees with hilarity during the week.

Fornication, she reckons is the main cause of unwanted pregnancy.

Abortion is murder, therefore sin, which is the religious argument, is no more sinful, from a scriptural point of view, than all other sins we don’t legislate against, like greed, hate and fornication. The latter, being fornication, I would say, is probably the single most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies in this country.” she said

Suggested ways to capitalise on the Irish love of fornication. Pic credit @Jimsheridan

To which there was a mass response of WTF? The wits took immediately to Twitter, #fornicationtax instantly began to trend and I’m telling you I haven’t had such a good laugh in ages.   People discovered old biology books agreeing with Mulherins unlikely assertion, while others wondered if fornication was the main cause of pregnacy, what were the others?  Lollipops?  Witchcraft?  Immaculate conceptions?

@Donal O’Keeffe:  Easy for Michelle Mulherin TD to blame unwanted pregnancies on fornication but has she definitively ruled out witchcraft? I didn’t think so.

@MissCatBradly: Fornication is probably the most common cause of unwanted bikini waxes

@ccrichton With all this talk of fornication and Padre Pio’s glove(s) on Liveline I suddenly feel I have time travelled. To the dark ages.

@Jim Sheridan who makes me laugh so much (about everything)  took this opportunity to launch a brand new women’s magazine – Fine Gael Woman – with features on Young Sluts, Unwed Mothers and Loose women.  Plus the article on 17 ways to stone Unmarried Women means that I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.


But funny and all as it was and stupid as they come, she was sounding off during something very serious – the government debate on the introduction of the X Case legislation.

It’s been TWENTY YEARS since we had that horrible, bitter and divisive referendum.  So it is TWENTY YEARS since we should have had at least limited access to abortion in Ireland.  But we don’t.  And why not?

TDs like Michelle Mulherin.  The Government defeated the Private Members’ Bill, seeking to create a legal framework for abortion in Ireland where a woman’s life was at risk, by 111 votes to 20 the day of her ignorant speech.

111 votes to 20.

You know what?  I can’t tell you how sick to death I am of living in a country where women have to take that horrible, awful and traumatic journey to England to get an abortion.  Even if their lives are at risk.  At last we’re coming out and beginning to talk properly – in the papers (if you haven’t read this article in Irish Times do it now) and the interviews on last nights  Late Late (catch up on the Player).

We need things to change.  We have to see change.

Let me know your views


Life, Feminism, Politics , ,

88 Replies to "Fire and Brimstone in Fornication Nation: but we’re not laughing about the X case ruling being voted down"

  • Squishywishy says:

    I think we’re living in a modern world now and we need to move on. I agree with abortion in Ireland. Not just for women whose lives are in danger but for any woman. It wouldn’t be my choice if i were to fall pregnant but I’m not here to judge women who make that decision. It’s their body, their foetus/baby and their decision. There are too many stories of botched abortions and back alleys. We need to be able to regulated it properly.

  • Exactly, and the word “sin” has no place in government anyway, we need laws for everyone, not only for people who are religious* (the numbers of people saying they have no religion went up 44% in the last census). If you don’t agree with abortion – don’t get one, simple as, people should have the right to choose.

    *Also I know not everyone who is religious is pro life, I’m just saying that I think church and state should be separated.

  • Squishywishy says:

    There seems to be this crazy idea too that if they legalise abortion people will all run out and get one. stupid madness. Some of the crap ya hear said in Ireland would make your blood boil.

  • Aisling says:

    Exactly. Just give us the choice. Not having abortion in this country doesn’t mean there is no abortion it just means all our abortions happen in England

  • This close minded, bigoted excuse for a TD doesn’t seem to realise that’s it’s not only unmarried women that suffer crisis pregnancies.

    How dare she try to force her religious beliefs on the nation and deny the women of our country the basic rights that are afforded worldwide because of her personal ignorance. It’s an abuse of her governmental power and shouldn’t be allowed.

    Yes people were confused about the actual meaning of ‘fornication’ because it’s an outdated term used by an outdated idiot.

  • Orlando says:

    Absolutely spot on. Forcing women in an already difficult and harrowing situation to make a traumatic journey, away from everything familiar and comfortable, is horrific. It’s this awful, “Not In My Back Yard” attitude of the government: they know people are doing it, but as long as they can say “well we can’t stop them leaving the country” they get to wash their hands of all responsibility.

    People can go on about moral rights til they’re blue in the face, but if you make outlawing abortion a moral issue about the rights of a child, you’re simultaneously denying the moral aberration that forcing a woman to carry and give birth to an unwanted child constitutes. It’s a completely paradoxical argument. I just don’t see how it’s anyone else’s business; I mean, if Enda and co were shacking up in my uterus, they might have a say as to who gets evicted from there, but they’re not and they don’t. End of.

  • Nicola says:

    “If you don’t agree with abortion – don’t get one”

    Wisest words I’ve heard on this issue, Princesswatshername.

    It’s shocking that this is still an issue, it really is.

  • says:

    The lack of openness and education toward birth control, emergency contraception (sure, it’s more available now, but the attitude doesn’t seem to have changed much), abortion, and sex in general – in this day and age – really disappoints me.

  • Roisin says:

    Separation of church and state. Why are religious view still influencing legislation? The time has come for the law and law-makers in this country to join the modern age.

  • Stefanie says:

    I feel it is a disgrace that women have to leave their homes to have an abortion, especially when the mother or baby are at risk. It makes no sense that this problem is not considered completely due too the fact that we live in a catholic dominant country. It should have no relevance to the law. After all society has become much more diverse in relation to religion culture and overall belief. We should all be entitled to make our own decisions and not be forced to travel by a bunch of identical catholic TD’s who are too afraid to put their neck on the line. It’s time for change because this is not acceptable and hope that anyone who saw the Late Late show last night would understand why.

  • niamhy_dee says:

    I don’t even know where to start on this one. The woman is an absolute moron. Firstly, all the BS about abortion being a sin is ridiculous – the church has NO PLACE in State matters (which is a whole other topic, lemme just grab my soapbox…). Secondly, as CherrySue rightly said above, it is not only unmarried women who have abortions. Mrs. Scarlet Letter, TD needs to read that Irish Times article above before she spouts more nonsense on behalf of the Irish people. The stories of women having to travel abroad to end the lives of their terminally-ill babies broke my heart. Having to make that decision is difficult enough without then having to make travel and accommodation arrangements, and explain to the neighbours/your family why you’re heading away for a few days.

    I must admit that I am a little bit push-me pull-me on the topic of abortion. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be unexpected pregnancies in the first place. I would never, ever judge a woman who has had one, and I imagine that it is a very difficult decision for anyone to reach. I do think that using it as a form of contraception is wrong – but that’s a whole other issue. That said, I have read enough Family Law cases through my work to know the pain and suffering that many “unwanted” children go through in their lives. If an abortion ends a life before it can endure a lifetime of suffering and emotional/physical/sexual harm – and then take out their pain on their own children – I am all for it.

    Finally, I don’t think that legalising abortion here will result in a massive upsurge of Irish women availing of them. Those who want one badly enough will travel, and if the Government really are concerned about how many young Irish women have abortions every year, perhaps they should do something constructive about it and provide proper training to young people on how to use contraception effectively to avoid them ever having to make that choice.

    Giantest comment evar, sorry ladies!

  • The entire attitude that because abortion is available in England so washing their hands of responsibility is staggering to me too.

    Teenage girls that find themselves pregnant (through whatever circumstance) can barely afford the bus fare into town, let alone a flight or ferry to another country, accommodation while there and the cost of the procedure itself. It’s terrifying enough to be pregnant and unsupported but to have people ‘in power’ speak in this way is ridiculously backward and causes untold damage.

    How many children are born into abject poverty every day because of this archaic view of abortion? How many are unwanted, unloved and devastatingly abused?

    I know, from personal experience, that that’s not always the case but in 2012 this country and it’s people deserve better care. This case and associated legislation is 20 years old, do your jobs!!

  • There’s a lot more women are willing to have their children rather than abort.

    However, if a woman chooses to abort the foetus then it is her decision. The government shouldn’t impose on their decision. The woman (or women) will travel to the UK and get it done there. It’s like they are blind to the fact that this happens.


    They know if there was a referendum / vote that people would vote for a choice of having the option to have one.

    It’s not something that would be an easy decision for any woman to make and that the government should respect their female population if they wish to under take this task and help them make the ways in which to get it easier. It’s hardly a stroll in the park for any woman.

  • hopeandpray says:

    I don’t agree with abortion but to pretend that it isn’t happening will not help the situation. I have spoken to mothers who have ended their pregnancies due to knowing that their baby would never lived past birth, or wouldn’t even make it that far and would endure great pain. I can’t imagine the pain and guilt they go through. Why do we make it worse by telling them their choice is breaking the law and forcing them to leave the country? There are mothers who would put their lives at risk if they continue the pregnancy, if these women couldn’t get an abortion somewhere else then some of them would die. Realistically the reason we can continue with our stupid law is because we know that someone else will deal with our problem.
    Surely even those like myself who don’t agree with abortion realise that it’s the right decision in a case where health and lives are at risk.

  • Drem says:

    I voted no in the last referendum and my views have not changed since, I would vote no again. That does not make me a religious nut, a right winger or any other other label people may wish to place on me. As a health professional who would be directly involved in terminations I can safely speak for other professionals who would refuse to be involved too. I think Ms Mulhall did herself a diservice with the use of the word ‘fornication’ as unfortunately it is evident the majority of twitts don’t understand its true meaning.

  • Drem says:

    Mulherin even

  • EmmaCat says:

    Can i just say- i’m so impressed with the attitude here. At least you’re all sensible enough to say ”well if you don’t agree with it then you don’t have to have one!”

    If you don’t agree with abortion, that’s okay, but don’t condemn other women for their choices. You don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life until you’re in their shoes.

    I’m horrified that the government is so lax, so ready to wash their hands of women who have to travel to england. It’s about time they got their arses in gear and finally write into law what was passed 20 years ago.

  • ShellBelle says:

    What needs to happen before the Irish legislature will grasp the nettle and legislate for abortion? First the X Case and then the ABC case where it was found that a woman’s HUMAN RIGHTS had been breached by not allowing her to have access to abortion in this country. I remember my Constitutional Law classes in college and the many discussions about the inadequate abortion laws in this country, and that was 8 years ago. What has been done since then and now? Nada. Successive governments have not had the balls to deal with this subject because they are too afraid to upset parts of the electorate. Its THE political hot potato of our time.

    The stories in the Irish Times were shocking but also spare a thought for Doctors who while constitutionally they can perform an abortion where there is a serious risk to the life of the mother, there are no legislative protections or practice codes for them where they are in a situation where a mother’s life is in danger by reason of her preganancy. For this reason I would imagine that Doctors don’t generally perform an abortion where the mother’s life is in danger and I wouldn’t blame them if they choose not to as they could be putting themselves at risk of criminal prosecution.

    Also did anyone see that doctor on Ireland AM yesterday who was arguing that an abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother and that a pregnancy can never be life threating? What an absolute load of codswallop.

    As for Michelle Mulherin, what an ignorant bumbling eejit.

  • Fee says:

    Although I’ve never been directly affected by the issues in it, I cried reading that IT article the other day. I actually don’t even have the words to express how much I admire these women coming forward. I can only imagine how many women around the country reading it must have been shedding tears because they DO relate to those stories and finally someone is speaking out publicly for them.

    I am pro-choice but would not disrespect anyone who is against abortion as long as they show reciprocal respect for the opposing view, as commenters on here have done. In fact I think it is probably even a bit disrespectful to a woman in situation who knows she will have to give birth to a dead baby or watch it die shortly afterwards to describe a termination as her “choice”.

    I find it so worrying that the country can participate in a referendum the results of which, as Aisling says, have not been enforced in law 20 years later. Leaving aside the emotion of this issue, what the hell does that say about Ireland in terms of democracy?

  • Tillukka says:

    I think this is a sensitive topic and everybody seems to have different/conflicting views.

    I think that ‘abortion’ should absolutely be available for women who are at risk themselves or are carrying babies that are very sick or have other illnesses. Also, in the case of rape I think the choice should be there.

    However, I don’t really agree with abortion in the general sense. I know its a bit of an old fashioned view but maybe women and men shouldn’t be having sex with people that they wouldn’t want to have children with. I think sex is very undervalued and trivialised in modern society. Sex is a special and wonderful thing and it can result in the woman getting pregnant. This seems to me to be totally forgotten.

    I used to love watching Sex and the City, and I loved Samantha’s powerful, care-free, modern attitude towards sex and ‘relationships’. But after a while I started to think ‘Is this what makes a succesful, powerful, modern woman?’.. I now feel a bit repulsed by that show, and I often wonder what happened to our values and saving sex for the special people we’re in love with..

    Also, I really do believe that if abortion was freely available in Ireland it would lead to a huge increase in abortion, one night stands, teenage pregnancy and all manner of accompanying problems. Its a bit shocking if you look at the statistics in other countries and see the amount of abortions and one night stands…

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