Press Release 20th April 2012
Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) which advocates for equal human and civil rights for those affected by Ireland’s system of forced, secret adoption today strongly condemned comments made by Michelle Mulherin FG TD, during the Dáil debate on an abortion bill proposed by Clare Daly TD.
Claire McGettrick, spokesperson for ARA said:  “We object to Deputy Mulherin’s use of the phrase ‘unwanted pregnancies’ and her inference that they were the result of ‘fornication’, which is in her opinion a ‘sin’.  We speak as the products of crisis pregnancies and we are calling on Deputy Mulherin to apologise for her use of such insensitive language, which is an insult to adopted people.”
“Deputy Mulherin’s comments confirm our assertion that ‘pro-life’ has never been about the children, rather it is about an obsession with control of women.  In recent years, this desire to control has manifested itself in a refusal to allow women the right to choose; in the McQuaid led era, that control included mother and baby homes, Magdalene Laundries and the ban on contraception.  It is that need for control that has prevented choice and has stood in the way of open adoption records in an Ireland that claims to be enlightened”, Ms McGettrick said.
Mari Steed, ARA’s US Coordinator said:  “I must ask how it is that Deputy Mulherin knows that I was ‘unwanted’? According to my mum (who I was blessed to have found and met in 2001 and now enjoy a close, loving relationship with), I was very much wanted. She simply had no choice or options to keep me, thanks to the same repressive religious ideology espoused by Ms. Mulherin. My mother, along with thousands of other children and women were incarcerated in industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries, raped, tortured, abused and enslaved, and had their children taken from them to be sold for adoption.”
Ms. Steed added:  “After I was born, despite marrying, moving to the UK and becoming a ‘respectable’ woman, my mother remained too afraid to have additional children for fear they would be snatched from her as well. There are many women like her, suffering from secondary infertility as a result of the traumatic loss of their first children. There are also women living in denial and fear, too afraid to reconnect with those lost children because religious authorities told them to ‘move on and forget.’ Michelle Mulherin has no business speaking about or for my mother, or for any woman facing a crisis or untimely pregnancy.”
By not supporting women in crisis pregnancy and by maintaining a system of secret adoption by withholding the identities of adopted people, Ireland perpetuates the stigma that surrounded unmarried motherhood and illegitimacy, and  Michelle Mulherin’s insensitivity further perpetuates that stigma.