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Fornication the 'cause of
Irish Times, Fri, Apr 20, 2012
FORNICATION WAS the single greatest cause of unwanted pregnancies in
Ireland, Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin said.
During the resumed Dáil debate, she said she was against abortion in any
form. “The grace of God is so liberating and provides so many options to
get the best out of life despite our fallen nature, and we all have that.
“Having said that, it is an ideal to aim for. In an ideal world there
would be no unwanted pregnancies and no unwanted babies, but we are far from
living in an ideal world. An honest and a scriptural view is that things are
getting harder for people, so what then for the weak in our society?
Ms Mulherin continued: “Abortion as 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.”
Independent Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan rounded on
Ms Mulherin for her remarks. He claimed that, in the past, Fine Gael and
Fianna Fáil had a problem with extramarital sex.
“And now we hear a member of this Government has a problem with
fornication,” Mr Flanagan added. “Where are we going?”
He said Ireland, which had been run by the two parties, had to be dragged,
kicking and screaming, into the modern world.
“Heels were dragged on symphysiotomy and redress for more women, on women
having to leave work on marriage, on contraception, divorce,” he added.
Addressing Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs, he said it was quite clear that
“Archbishop McQuaid’s crozier is firmly still around your necks”. He
said there was some hope, given that Labour had been more positive.
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 Bill was introduced by Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, along with People
Before Profit TD Joan Collins and Independent TD Mick Wallace.
Minister for Health Dr James Reilly rejected it on the grounds that the
House should await an expert group report on the matter.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said they should await the
“At that point, we can have a fair and rational debate on all the issues
involved and, I hope, arrive at a solution that will address the abortion
issue which, as I noted, has been divisive, emotive and destructive at times
during the years.”
Supporting the Bill, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said her
party believed it should be allowed to proceed to committee stage when it
could be amended. “What is certain is that it is time for legislation to
be finally enacted to protect the rights of women, as decided by the Supreme
Court in 1992,” she said.
Carlow-Kilkenny Labour TD Ann Phelan commended Ms Daly for introducing the
“Yesterday in Leinster House, with a number of other deputies and
Senators, I met some Irish women who had to go in the past to the UK for a
termination,” she said. “We heard their harrowing stories and what they
had to go through. In the near future, I hope there will be an end to those
harrowing stories and that we will not have to hear them again.”
Sligo-North Leitrim FG TD Tony McLoughlin said he believed the Bill was
“The life of the mother already takes precedence in medicine, as, of
course, it should,” he added. “In Ireland, thankfully, we have one of
the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.”
© 2012 The Irish Times
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is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
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