An Irish politician in the eye of a media storm has claimed that some women use abortion as ‘birth control’.
Controversial Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin, a constituency colleague of her Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny, is standing by her remarks.
The single 40-year-old hit the headlines last week when she claimed that ‘fornication’ was responsible for unmarried pregnancies during a parliamentary debate on abortion.
She is refusing to backtrack and has told the Irish media that she isn’t being ‘judgemental’ in her remarks.
Mulherrin told the Irish Independent: “I continue to receive a positive reaction to my opinions expressed on abortion, morality and responsibility.
“People are delighted the subject is being talked about in a calm and down-to-earth fashion and it can’t be just glossed over - that really political correctness had gone mad.
“The furore over my use of the word fornication arose because people were reacting to a word, not to my argument.
“Some of the upset is being driven by some liberals believing that politicians have to be muffled and muzzled by political correctness.”
Mulherrin, a lawyer by trade, told RTE television over the weekend that she is against sex outside marriage.
“As an ideal I would, but we fall short on ideal because we’re human,” she said.
She also spoke out about unprotected sex, sometimes arising from casual encounters and claimed there ‘were 4,500- 5,000 women who felt they needed to go to Britain for a termination of their pregnancy and, in some of these cases, the pregnancy arose from unprotected sex’.
She added: “I’m not a prude, or anything like that, but, as a woman, you have an awful lot to lose, and getting pregnant could be one of the best things that could happen you.
“You could get AIDS, you could get some other sexually transmitted disease that you’ll be dealing with for the rest of your life.
“I think that it’s about acknowledging that, in some instances, abortion is being used as birth control.”
Speaking to the Independent, Mulherrin stood by her views. She said: “None of my comments are designed as judgmental.
“To me it’s a question of valuing oneself, and actually it’s not like I’m being cruel to other girls.
“I’m saying to girls and to girlfriends, friends I have here with me, that you know, at the end of the day, the whole push towards abortion and contraception as part of the agenda for feminism, well hold on, it’s the woman who ends up holding the baby, so if you’re out there and of course you’re going to have sex, you’re going to end up carrying the can.
“Is that really the best you want to hope for yourself?”