A Horrible Education


Pro Choice campaigners block a banner from the ‘Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’ (ICBR) outside the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin during the Eighth Amendment referendum campaign last May.

This afternoon.

Responding to criticisms of his post last Thursday on the abortion debate, Terry McMahon writes:

Getting attacked seems inevitable when you deviate from whatever the new consensus morality is. Apparently, it comes with the territory now. But the bile is reaching new depths.

And, not only are the rage-fueled reactions disconnected from any reality, the reactionaries spouting the bile are proud of themselves. They have allies now. And righteousness on their side. And carte-blanche authority, it seems, to projectile vomit over any dissent.

When the abortion campaign began, I was voting YES. I was doing it for the women who told me they wanted YES. There were some who were saying the opposite but I was so caught up in the fervour of doing the right thing that I barely registered them.

So confident, in fact, was I in how I was voting, I decided to ignore those dissenters a little less and explore the subject a little deeper by asking some questions. I was looking forward to the clarity with which my side would articulately address those questions.

That’s when it began to get ugly. But the ugliness wasn’t from the NO side. It was from people on my side. People I knew. People I cared about. People I believed knew better. It was a strange feeling.

Nobody likes to be an outsider. Every time I tried to probe a little further in an attempt to understand, the reactions got uglier.

There are always folks out there who will hate no matter what you do but this was different. I desperately wanted to support the many magnificent women who were brilliantly articulate advocates of the necessity of voting YES.

Yet, the deeper I dug, the more impossible it became to ignore the fact that the child was being systematically erased from the conversation. And any questioning of that fact only escalated the rage.

I spoke with many women. And men. And couples. Then spoke with more women. I gorged on all the podcasts. Read all the articles. Spoke with and listened to some of the best people I’ve ever met. On both sides. I also encountered some of the most rabid revisionists it has been any man’s misfortune to encounter, but they were in the minority.

Noble people on the YES side invited people who may have been conflicted to ask questions on social media. It was a kind offer. And smart. So I did ask. Simple, sincere questions from a conflicted soul.

Lenny Abrahamson and Colm O’Gorman proved to be two patient educators. But that’s where it ended. I had to delete multiple posts because of the rabid reactions of some of these new selectively sensitive social warriors.

They didn’t know me but that didn’t stop them becoming self-styled experts on my motivations. They may have had ‘humanitarian’ in their bio but, trite as it sounds, all they had was hate in their hearts.

It was relentless and cruel and deliberate. And, it has to be said, the people who did know me felt no need to come to any defence. Asking basic questions had rendered me an asshole, forever more.

Social media exploded during the campaign. Language was bastardised into the philosophy of convenience and complex morality was dismissed as the weapon of the ignorant. Any deviation was aggressively rejected or turned into an accusation of way-to-make-it-be-all-about-you.

You might feel this was not the case but that’s probably because you were one of the decent people who didn’t feel the need to destroy any and all dissent. Check it out, though. You’ll find it all turned a little crazy. I didn’t know what to think. Or to feel. Or to do.

Then I got blocked by the Repeal Shield. No explanation necessary. No enquiry accepted. Blanket censorship dressed up as liberal progressivism. Ask us any question you want, except the ones we don’t want you asking.

I was lost. Broken. Wanting to do the right thing. Wanting to be on the right side of history. Wanting to be a decent human being. Trying to de-weaponize democracy at the ballot box, I re-read precisely what we were voting for. Over and over. Just to make sure. I was about to tick the box and read it one more time. Words were never more important. I hesitated. Then voted.

As the results slowly trickled out later that day, I already knew it was going to be YES. I had known for weeks. The manipulated wording of the positive YES versus negative NO proposal was already too one-sided. Besides, the campaign was so brilliantly constructed, it was impossible for it to fail.

The word ‘Abortion’ was erased and replaced with the word, ‘Choice.’ The word ‘Child’ was erased and replaced with, ‘Choice.’ ‘Life’ was erased for, ‘Choice.’ And the new buzz phrase was, ‘Compassion.’

Like a frenzied new movement led by all of Ireland’s political parties. Compassion. The repressive regime of cruel, old-world FASCISM was being replaced by a fuzzy, new-world political philosophy that could just as easily have been christened the darkly comical name COMPASSIONISM.

The celebrations were incredible, and, frankly, a little disturbing; unless you had already succeeded in erasing the unwelcome side of the conversation from your soul.

We head just learned of the deaths of multiple women through faulty smear tests but our government heroes they had their sick slates wiped clean in Dublin Castle. As we chanted their names we made heroes out of psychopaths.

Yet, that can be understandable. Anybody can get caught up in the fire. It was a raw and painful campaign. For all sides. In the making of any big moment, mistakes can be made.

Now we’re into the legislative side of things. Those same Government heroes whose mismanagement allowed women die, and are happy for homeless children to have no future, and for those children’s mothers to live in abject poverty, are determining the finer details of the lucrative world of abortion.

Some deeply troubling details are being revealed but the majority gets what the majority wants and the minority needs to shut the hell up about it. That’s the democratic way. And you can’t argue with that. At least you’re not supposed to.

I would never judge a woman for deciding to have an abortion. Nobody knows the complexities of a person’s state of being and it’s her own damn business what she – or they, the couple – decide.

I know women who have had abortions and some of them are some of the finest people I have ever met. I know women who have never had abortions and insist they never would, and some of them are some of the finest people I have ever met. Neither has the monopoly on morality.

But I did have one question. It was related to the talk of refusing to administer pain relief to an about-to-be-aborted baby on the grounds that it would further “shame” the mother.

The cruelly dismissive word coined by an Irish politician to describe this, “obsession with the foetus” over the rights of the mother is, “foetocentric.” It’s not even a real word. But what a word. And what a concept. Foetocentric. Caring too much.

We don’t know what the final legislation will be. We don’t know who is going to profit, but, rest assured, someone will, massively. We don’t know how our already broken health system will deal with the projected numbers.

What we do know, however, is we have a Government that has already shown how psychotically callous it can be to our most vulnerable citizens. So, is it unfair to ask if we should perhaps petition for basic pain relief to be granted by law to a soon-to-be painfully dying human being?

That’s all I’m asking. And, for that absurdly basic question, the Broadsheet attacks began. For those of you who want to write, “way-to-make-it-be-all-about-you,” this is a personal post. That’s all it is.

I have never insulted anyone from the YES side. In fact, the only time I passed public judgement on anyone was when members of the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR) stood outside maternity hospitals with images of developing babies.

All I have tried to do is wrestle with a profoundly painful moral question. And I did it publicly in the hope that conflicted people like me might receive insight beyond that complex quandary. I never wanted to hurt anyone. And I still don’t. And that’s why this will be my last post on this subject.

Having asked that basic question about pain relief for an about-to-be-aborted baby, a  commenter on Broadsheet, who I don’t know, and who hid behind an alias, publicly posted the following:

“Do you want answers about abortion, Terry? Have some conversations with women who have experienced it. Listen.

And while you’re at it, ask us about our experiences of being sexually harassed in our school uniforms, assaulted in bars, abused by boyfriends, abandoned by baby-daddies, humiliated by doctors, forced to walk past gory foetus porn during the referendum, kept in the dark about our cervical smear results, and blamed for rape because of our knickers.

Ask us what a miscarriage feels like. Ask us how we feel about the cost of childcare, the lack of subsidizing of childcare, and the fact that we do most of the grunt work in raising children and keeping homes.

Ask how it feels for us to have to defend our decisions and experiences to people like you, who perform a burlesque of macho concern, but are actually as thick as two planks.”

It’s tame compared to some of the things that have been posted about me – no doubt there is more bile to come – but this well-written articulation of her accusatory hatred does seem a fitting end to what has been a horrible education.

Thank you for engaging.

Terry McMahon is a filmmaker and can be found on Twitter @terrymcmahon69

Previously: Terry McMahon on Broadsheet


Previously:  A Conscientious Objection

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190 thoughts on “A Horrible Education

    1. Dell

      Yes! Poor Terry who refers to a foetus as a child, but apparently was pro choice, is the real victim here. He will never experience what it is to be pregnant and deal with any of the issues surrounding this but because those who do got pretty fed up explaining over and over again what it meant to them, he is a victim. That he came away complaining about not getting answers from people who fought tooth and nail to get this basic right for women just goes to show what a self absorbed idiot this man is.

  1. Lobster

    I read the comments on your previous piece, and didn’t see any attack.
    I saw a lot of people asking what you meant by pain relief, and here you make that claim again, without any link to show what you are talking about, or any detail provided by you to say what you are talking about.
    You’re not a victim here, you have been provided a platform to talk about your views and beliefs. You choose to wade into a highly sensitive area with purposeful tactlessness, and act hurt when you’re questioned. It’s ridiculous.

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    “I’m on your side, but I’m just asking questions.” Sure Terry. Go back to bragging about grabbing balls at auditions which is as believable as you being prochoice.

  3. Eoin

    Who’s upset Terry now? Is there anyone left who isn’t on his “List”. There’s probably mornings when all is perfect in the world that Terry would pick a fight with his own reflection. “Fupp off and stop stealing my look, you unoriginal silly billy”

    1. Eoin

      There’s an idea! Just as BS replaced the (asterisked) potty-mouthed language in that comment, maybe we should apply the same rainbows & snowdrops filter to Terry’s uncouth (“real”, “edgy” surely?) passive-mostly aggressive language..

      So, “Asking basic questions had rendered me a naughty-poo, forever more.” becomes “Asking basic questions had rendered me a mimsy-tumkins, forever more.” That sort of filter. Yes, that’s a distinct improvement. Great idea BS!

      1. Chris

        Terry is a bully, I eloquently said as much and was censored again, comment deleted. I also pointed out that printing his diatribes can only upset women who we as a nation decided to back, that middle age men with the loudest most aggressive voices did not get to decide this time and that this serves less as a reflection and more as a device to upset people and open wounds. Broadsheet deleted that comment as well. They love a bit of Terry throwing it about the place, but censor me heavily.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          No, I was being more general about the site, and some commenters – Not the spat going on, in this thread below currently or specifically.

          Just in general, that I’ve seen bully commenters play victim, is all.

    1. Nullzero

      “For God’s sake Terry agree with me”.

      The problem with you and your ilk is your rush to condemn people with conflicting views to yours as backwards or even fascist.

      The irony of your own attempted control of thought and opinion seems to be completely lost on you all. As if a collective attitudinal narcissism runs through every comment you post and argument you make.

      Here’s the thing, people have opinions that won’t chime with yours, sometimes they’ll be wrong or other times right but what is always a constant is their right to hold the opinions they have.

      If you aren’t mature enough to accept that then it’s your problem.

      It’s time to grow up.

      1. millie st murderlark

        I think your comment says far more about you than me, actually.

        I don’t think Terry should agree with me, frankly I don’t really care if he does.

        In the run up to the ref, I made plenty of comments about abortion and why I was voting yes. I tried very hard in most cases to engage with commenters respectfully and to hear their arguments, and counter with my own, because it’s a sensitive and divisive topic, as I said below. I have great respect for commenters who are able to engage in thoughtful debate on the subject and who can respect what I say.

        That said, the debate did get ugly at times, especially towards the end, and I’ve no doubt that I was out of line at times too.

        However, my comments on Terry’s previous article were neither disrespectful nor in disagreement with him. I questioned his sources, and his style of writing, which I’ve long said is not to much taste.

        This article, is an absolute disgrace. He in no way addresses the valid questions commenters posed to him, he provides no sources or links for anything he claims, and instead goes off on some tirade, which boils down to something like wounded who and a massive chip on his shoulder, seemingly brought on by Niamh’s comment, as referenced in the post above.

        This is the reaction of a toddler. It is nothing more than an overly verbose tantrum. And that is what my comment refers to, not his pro-life stance. He can keep it. But this article is embarrassing.

        I stand by my words: Get a grip.

        1. Nullzero

          You’re very much guilty of the herd mentality that prevails in this comment section.

          Not only on this issue but anything at all.

          Anyone who disagrees with the new populist agenda is immediately wrong and needs to be belittled or ridiculed.

          You think you’re doing the right thing, and I’m sure you’re well intentioned but you and your cronies are little more than boot boys.

          1. Nigel

            Yeah I’d stick to whining about generalities rather than try defending Terry in the particulars too even though it reduces you to pro forma aggrieved ranting

          2. Nullzero

            I’m calling out you and your ilk having no ability to accept that other people have differing opinions to yours.

            I could scarcely give a hoot about this article or its author, I’m simply outlining your mentality and you’ve demonstrated it very nicely thank you very much.

          3. Nullzero

            A “pooshow”?

            Top marks for staying in character, insulting and condescending.

            I asked you to show how I’m a hypocrite and you clearly can’t, so you get back to your comfort zone, ridicule. Bravo

          4. millie st murderlark

            And yet you, not me, are the one flinging insults all over this thread.

            I’ve called you a hypocrite.

            I’ve called myself a bitch.

            You? Well… just step back and take a look at yourself.

          5. Nullzero

            Where have I contradicted myself here?
            Please demonstrate my supposed hypocrisy.

            Highlighting your attitude isn’t insulting, maybe you’re just not happy having a mirror held up to you?

          6. millie st murderlark

            Also, “poohousery”. Your words below.

            I mean, if you’re going to dish it out, don’t start crying if it comes back to hit you in the face.

          7. millie st murderlark

            Nope. I’ve a nice spliff rolled and I’m damned if you’re running that for me.

            I really think that you’ve taken this as far as it’s going to go now. I’ve no further interest in engaging in slinging insults at a stranger on the internet.

            As to hypocrisy, I strongly feel that you show plenty of it on this thread as an example, because in my view there’s plenty of it.

            I’ll be leaving it at that.

          8. Nullzero

            Ha ha ha ha ha.

            What a terrible post.

            You can’t prove anything so you resort to “in my opinion”.

            Good to know you’re taking illegal narcotics. Don’t let me ruin it for you whatever you do.

            For all your social justice comments you’re supporting organised crime.
            Talk about hypocrisy.

          9. Nigel

            The irony of someone complaining about people disagreeing with someone JUST for disagreeing, with no reference to the merits of of what’s being disagreed with! It literally doesn’t matter whether we’re right or wrong! Perfect hypocrisy.

          10. Nullzero


            Tone isn’t the issue, what I’m talking about is clear visible condescending insulting comments.

      2. Nigel

        I love how your comment starts with attributing words and arguments to Millie that she never made in order to berate her for disagreeing with Terry by controlling his thoughts. That’s a very Terry way of arguing

        1. Nullzero

          Where there’s one you always find the other.

          I never said Terry’s thoughts were controlled by anyone.

          Again the troops are out the quell dissent. Better make everyone agree or insult and belittle those who continue to be contrary.

          1. Nullzero

            Yeah, no one gets to disagree with you or their a martyr or triggered or whatever tired description you care to put upon them.

            You’re a pathetic lot.

          2. Nullzero

            I’m not mad at anyone.

            I’m simply pointing out your mentality. I don’t give a toss about Terry or the article.

            You people just love to jump on anyone who disagrees with you.

            Freedom of speech allows all views, even wrong ones to be expressed. All you do is ridicule differing opinions in the hope those opinions cannot be heard. You should be ashamed of yourself but you’re far to narcissistic for that aren’t you?

          3. millie st murderlark

            Climb down from your high horse there.

            You know, I didn’t have to justify my comment to you and your “calling out” of it, but I offered a fairly comprehensive explanation and context for my comment, none of which had to do with disagreeing with his stance.

            I’m not sure if you’re unable to see the wood from the trees, but this crusade you seem to be on is precisely the same as what you’re accusing me of.

          4. Nullzero

            It’s simple.

            Someone has a different opinion to you, you respond by slagging them off, in your opinion that’s fair game,when in reality it’s lazy pathetic nonsense.

          5. millie st murderlark

            But it is to me, and thatis what’s most important here.

            You keep missing this very pertinent fact.

          6. Nigel

            Only one person here lecturing others that the very act of disagreeing with someone is an act of oppression and that’s you. You’re literally the only one here opposing people exetcising their freedom of speech.

          7. Nullzero

            This is a prime example of your mentality. Everything I have said about you is clear to see for anyone who reads your comments.
            Suddenly I’m surpressing your freedom of speech, you have some neck to try and twist things that wa.

            You have every right to express your opinions whatever they are, but you spend most of your time ridiculing others for their opinions.

          8. Nullzero

            It’s clear that you have a superiority complex and that anyone who disagrees with you is automatically fair game to be insulted and ridiculed.

          9. Nigel

            That’s certainly the view of someone who has decided that one person’s disagreement is bad and another’s is good with no reference to the substance of the disagreements at all.

  4. Pee Pee

    Didn’t read all that tbh, but what child are you on about, there is no child. The bottom line is Terry, people should have autonomy over their own bodies, and that’s it.

  5. Caren Kennedy

    We were asked to answer one question in the referendum, and one question only: “Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?” That is, yes or no to repealing Article 40.3.3 and replacing it with: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.”

    Which is where we’re at now, and the reason I voted No. The alternative would pave the way for politicians to legislate for as yet unknown laws regarding terminations and would delete all rights for the unborn. Granted the proposed law had been drafted and published, but it was just a framework, and would be amended by politicians after the referendum. By definition, this included not only deleting the rights of the unborn, but also the rights of parents, without any defined parameters.

    Before anyone starts firing off social media stones, you might first consider this. You still don’t know where I stand on terminations because we were never asked to vote on that per se. We were asked to vote on whether or not to remove all rights for the unborn from the Constitution so politicians could legislate for terminations. That’s it. Nothing else. This included legislating for every associated issue regarding terminations, including whether or not to administer pain relief.

    When I asked about the rights of parents and the unborn at the time, the response was unequivocal from the Yes side. To wit, the only “right” was the right to choose, and voting No was condemning women to die. There was nothing else to it, apparently, and in voting No I was betraying my sex.

    So, yes, Terry I’m with you on this, I guess.

    And to the woman you quote in your post, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe anyone has, man or woman. I’d be as conflicted about terminations as much as the next person, which is why I’ve kept my own counsel on social media up until now.

    But this I do know. I’m one of the women you speak of. I’ve been single-parenting, pursuing a career, and paying my own way since 1990. I’ve experienced first-hand most of what you mention in your post. But in all that time, I’ve never once had to defend my choices and or actions to men. But women? All the time. I’ve never figured out why this is so, but there it is

    1. ReproButina

      You voted No so we know exactly where you stood. You stood for more women being forced to travel abroad for abortions. You stood for more women being denied life saving treatment if they were pregnant.

        1. ReproButina

          You voted against removing the 8th which meant you voted for things to stay the same which meant women being forced to travel and being denied life saving procedures.

          Dress is up anyway you want but that’s what it boils down to.

    2. millie st murderlark

      So what is your stance on abortion, can I ask? After your well-worded thoughts on Terry’s post, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts, and it is after all rather a divisive issue, though (evidently) not as divisive as we once thought.

    3. Clampers Outside!

      Removing the 8th cleaned the slate, So that choice could be given,
      And the unknowns, now be written.

  6. realPolithicks

    Jaysus this guy seems to specialize in playing the victim, everything is about “him”. If you disagree with him then you’re attacking him, yet he lays out the most preposterous arguments. We’ve read your stuff terry, we get where you’re coming from, we disagree with you…get over it.

  7. RuilleBuille

    He was never going to vote Yes. It’s all a lie like the No campaigns first ‘expert witness’ turned out to be a bank robber and not a theatre nurse.

    He only has a fleeting relationship with the truth.

    1. McVitty

      hmmmmm…it was a road to “no” for many people.

      Take euthanasia, I’ve always been open to the right to euthanasia (as in, I think it should be permissible) but through the course of a national conversation I would realize just how conceited/dishonest the arguments for it would be, how much leftist misanthropy is in the “yes” movement, just how dominant and entitled the movement would be and above all, how constrained the dialogue would be as a result of these things but when you think how poor it would be in implementation, standards, regulation, you would be given cause to reconsider the previously held position. This is what happens.

      The absence of personal and moral responsibility is stunning so in the end, many voting no on the basis that you can get is elsewhere if you want it….not that it would matter, the “yes” vote would still prevail on a 2:1 ratio. Same goes for heroin clinics, Stockholm model for prostitution, etc. – even weed legalization.

  8. Cathy R

    Brilliantly written piece. Sorry to see you getting such abuse merely for expressing an opinion. Most people just keep their heads down now. Debate and dialogue in our country is broken. Ultimately this will have a corrosive effect on democracy itself.

          1. Nullzero

            I disagree with your authoritarian need to have everyone agree with you so I’m “dull”.

            Better get Nigel on the case to really show me up.

          2. millie st murderlark

            You seem to be getting yourself into something of a lather. A lot of bluster, but for what?

            Because you don’t like my opinions, or how I express them? Are you for real?

          3. Nullzero

            You have a right to your opinions.
            The problem is you can’t accept other people’s rights to hold differing opinions to yours.

            Believe whatever you like, just stop being so condescending and snarky to anyone who doesn’t fit into your paradigm.

          4. millie st murderlark

            Nah, I really enjoy being a snarky little bitch actually. So I think I’ll keep it up. But your feedback is appreciated nonetheless.

            Hope that wasn’t too condescending for you to swallow.

          5. Nullzero

            Very droll, I’d expect nothing less, take ownership of your horrible attitude and strut away with your head held high.
            Pure narcissism.

          6. Nigel

            You’re literally attacking her just for holding a different opinion. You don’t even care what her opinion is just that she’s disagreeing with someone. You’re not interested in debate or opinion you just want to shut people up.

          7. Nullzero

            Here you go again.

            To quote millie” LOL, a Terry in our midst”.

            This is a prime example of her condescending, vitriolic commentry.

            Someone says something to disagree with her(without speaking to her directly) and it’s insult time.

            I love how you’re trying to turn this back on me.

            You’re pathetic, and you just hate being called out for your poohousery.

          8. J Dizzle

            Nigel and Millie, it’s very simple and I’ll wrap it up in a single line : it’s OK to have a different opinion, no one is right and no one is wrong. Terry said some things I agree and disagree with, but you lot on your crusade feel anyone who doesn’t see things the same as you are fair game to target.

          9. Nigel

            I go back to how in order to start this all off you just made up stuff Millie didn’t say to justify your diatribe, and ignore the actual substance of the disagreements with Terry’s two pieces.

          10. Nullzero

            I don’t care about the article.
            I never made up anything, I just pointed out how you people’s approach these issues, always the same playbook, insulting condescending nonsense. Now you’re making thing up. Pathetic, I’d expect nothing less

  9. Clampers Outside!

    I read the first half, and I nodded, agreeably… I read the second half, and scratched me head wondering what the fupp is this… 

    I’ll focus on one point, that of ‘wanting to be on the right side of history’.

    Wanting to be on the “right side of history” is a dumbass way to form an opinion. It’s a collectivist position, when chosen for that reason of ‘wanting to be on the right side of history’. 

    It’s as I’ll informed a position to take as choosing to try hold back a tide, a literal tide. 

    You’re choosing on the basis of what you think the future view of your position will be rather than on what you believe in, or understand. 

    You’re choosing on a speculative view of the future, and not from a position of informed, nor well thought out analysis.

    You should pick your position because you believe in it, and understand it, as best you believe you can. Not go with a crowd, nor a collective view of how others or yourself think history may be viewed later. 

    Most importantly, you should have integrity in standing to your position. Integrity allows for one’s position to change with new understandings and information, while maintaining a value structure.

    This is unlike a stance of wanting to be on the “right side of history” which is speculative and can only be seen, much later, after the fact.

    I don’t think you’re being as personal, profound, nor reflective, as you think you are, in this piece, in all fairness Terry. 

    You’re still posturing to be seen to be right, or ‘right-on’, rather than true to your self.

    From what I’ve read of the above anyway. Maybe start a private diary, and check it, and re-read it.

    – – – –

    As for never insulting anyone on the YES side, I do remember your vile homophobic rant about the Taoiseach and his partner on the Echo Chamber podcast. He supported the YES campaign, did he not? Worth thinking further on that, I’d say.

    1. f_lawless

      I would have taken “being on the right side of history” to be taking a moral standpoint that perhaps means going against popular opinion or the prevailing groupthink of the time, but which later is widely accepted to have been the right one.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        History is neither moralist, nor on a linear progression, thankfully and unfortunately, respectively.

          1. Steph Pinker

            History is an account of aspect(s) of life and human experiences, which have been documented, or more to the point, written by those who claim to have observed it – there’s always an agenda – factual or otherwise. In other words, it’s as subjective/ objective as those who interpret it, and those who choose to believe it.

            Archaeology is a science, history isn’t; therein lies the difference.

        1. Cian

          History hasn’t happened yet. Both side of the abortion debate can claim the moral high ground
          But only time will tell who was “on the right side of history”.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            Both abortion and divorce were available on this island before. More recent history did not view either ‘right’ for a long time. And only very very recently has the pendulum swung back to the past for those to be viewed ‘right’ again.

            Adding to Steph’s point above, historians are moralistic. History is not.

  10. Increasing Displacement

    What a dope

    Look at me, no, I’ll never read or look at anything related to you again

  11. Pete

    So what if people on either side are a**holes. Why do you care if you are on the right side of history. Vote what you believe in. What was you opinion on the matter?
    Sometimes it’s not about you. It’s about other people. Do what you think is right but then you’d never be able to write this and show us all how you really struggled and cared about it so much. The whole country went through this. Most of us just voted with their consience one way or the other.

    1. McVitty

      If you are open to it, there is another way of reading his account that suggests this is about more than the referendum. It’s a question of whether we can call ourselves a free democratic people – the mechanics of social change.

  12. realPolithicks

    I see there are comments being deleted left right and center on this thread…as usual. Very tiresome and as much as I enjoy the articles and the comment section its becoming increasingly difficult to take the site seriously.

  13. Banana Drama

    The irony of the title of this post is lost on some people..
    You’re too easily agitated and too fast in respondance…

  14. newsjustin

    I just voted no because abortion is wrong.

    I’ll continue to think it’s wrong. And this country will slowly, periodically spasm each time a new low-point is reported…growth in the numbers of abortions…babies with Down Syndrome disappearing from classrooms….oddities (at first, but then familiar) like foetuses of the wrong sex or a small, third triplet aborted.

    A brave new world is all ahead of us.

  15. Dani McCabe

    I’m so fed up of people, particularly men, criticising the Yes campaigners for how they weren’t always “patient educators” or their words weren’t always gentle or they didn’t always have the ability to rise above people who at the end of the day, were questioning their rights to their own bodies.

    Most of us did swallow our words, smile, naw our lips to hold back in conversations because we knew that just simple declaring that to vote no was denying someone the right to their own body, and that is not their right to do, would be dismissed and the conversation would be over. It was torturous at times having to listen and *facilitate* “fair questions”.

    It was never fair that you got to vote on what was legal for me to do with my body. Never. You will never be in a position to understand the emotional labour that went into repeal. You will never understand what it’s like to have to try convince someone that you deserve the right to your own body.

    Criticising and passing judgement on how people responded to you questioning their freedom, their right to their own body, begs the question, why were you questioning their right to freedom in the first place? Why are you now, still carrying negative responses to your adding to their emotional labour like you were wounded?

    With your platform and your reach, please stop using it to further demonise people, particularly women, for being unapologetic about the right to their own bodies.

    Take your hurt feelings and care for them yourself. Broadsheet posts about how you were “made feel” when questioning someone’s right to their own body of your responsibility. Repeal Shield was like a self care service during a nasty gruelling few months. If you got added to the list, focus on the why, focus on how you showed yourself to not be an ally in the fight for equality. Not poor Terry, sure the wimens were nasty and how dare they add you to a list of people who wanted to deny a right for a person to control their own body. This entire article, is once again, putting the responsibility of your emotions on the backs of others as if it’s their labour to do.

    The whole “No voters are victims” narrative is ridiculous. If someone voted No, it’s not simply that they voted no for *insert reason here*, they also voted *against* bodily autonomy. They voted against someone having the right to their own body. People being pissed off that anyone voted against them having the freedom to decide what happens to their bodies is valid. That is valid pain. The referendum unearthed the depts of misogyny and vilifying of women in Ireland that allowed laundries exist to be not just alive, but thriving. If people didn’t have time or the capacity to facilitate your questioning the right to their own bodies in a manner that you’d deem appropriate, maybe explore why you think you have the right to expect them to tolerate or educate you in the first place?

    Why would should anyone have to be polite when someone is questioning their right to their own bodies? Why is there an expectation that questioning that should ever be ok or tolerated?

    1. Nullzero

      You’ve essentially validated everything the article outlined.

      The irony is completely lost on you no doubt.

    2. Dub Spot

      Well said, thought it’s affording this Terry McMahon individual the badly-needed oxygen of validation for a viewpoint that is deliberately shared for the purpose “looking for notice”. Same as “Ollie Crowmwell”. At least McMahon has the deflated balls to put his name to his cry for attention.

      Just like admitting to working for Facebook, reading Ulysses, or doing an Ironman, why anyone needs to publicly admit – without being asked – they voted “No” or in favour of “Leave” beats me. See a therapist.

      1. f_lawless

        “why anyone needs to publicly admit – without being asked – they voted “No” or in favour of “Leave” beats me. See a therapist”.
        I voted yes but I can see how you are validating Terry’s point with that kind of comment. What’s wrong with engaging in some civilised public debate on an issue with people who have differing views to you? A lot of people voted No and Leave, To label them all as in need of therapy is to cut yourself off from reality.

    3. Niamh

      Everything this lady says.

      Terry, that was my message. I don’t hate you, I find your article to be rhetorically dishonest and misogynist. The fact that you quote me but don’t engage with anything I say reaffirms my point.

      If my vitriol means that you really do stop populating broadsheet with your screeds, it’ll be all worth while.

      And I’m not hiding behind a monikor. Niamh is my name. You are welcome to ask the mods here for my email address if you wish.

      You’re using my body and my life as a hand-wringing point of debate. I don’t owe you politeness.

    1. Janet, I ate my avatar

      There’s just something about Terry’s delivery that puts people’s backs up, if only I could put my finger on it ….
      To compare
      Newsjustin supported his no voice on here throughout the campaign in a measured non aggressive way and although he frustrated the hell out of people ( well me ) you could tell he was sincere and respectful.

      I have no problems with differing opinions or discussing them, it may not be intentional but this piece sounds so aggressive and personal, it’s hard to focus on any point beyond that. Less drama more content might be more effective, just a thought.

      1. SOQ

        Diplomacy is the art of making your point without causing offence Janet, a lesson some people simply refuse to learn.

  16. bisted

    …Terry…I know John Waters threatened to leave Ireland and create a vacancy for the most hated contrarian…but, despite having all the credentials, you’ll have to remain the understudy…

  17. Nigel

    Hi my name is Nigel and I’m a Getting Into Stupid Arguments addict and last night I fell off the wagon hard and got into a stupid argument. I let you down, I let my family down, but most of all I let myself down. I woke up this morning on the floor my phone out of power and my typing finger in a cramp. Learn from my mistakes boys and girls. Not even once.

        1. Nullzero

          It’s a brilliant tactic to be fair. When you can’t substantiate anything you’re saying just inform the world that you no longer want to be involved in discussion. Bravo.

    1. bisted

      …Nigel…everyone on here realizes that your addiction is to getting the last word in…regardless of the subject of the argument which you normally don’t give a toss…

      1. Nigel

        Ah blisted in fairness I’m always safe with you because I couldn’t even be bothered arguing with you, you sweet summer child

          1. Nullzero

            That’s the end of you taking the moral high ground.

            Do you enjoy funding the murderous violence on our streets?

          2. Janet, I ate my Avatar

            there’s also the option of home grown , becoming quite common I hear, friends with green fingers

          3. Nullzero

            Drug dealers are murderous criminals. Buying drugs funds the murders commited by drug gangs on our streets. Your money buys their guns.

            It’s hilarious seeing the holier than thou mob here trying to defend buying drugs. Absolutely pathetic I’d expect no less.

          4. Janet, I ate my avatar

            I’m not defending anyone, I’m suggesting murderous criminals are not the only source if you indulge. You have a fine way of reading your own meaning into English.

          5. Nullzero

            Buying illegal drugs funds and enables organised crime.

            I’d love to know where all the ethically sourced drugs that you’re talking about come from.

          6. Janet, I ate my avatar

            your first statement is correct,
            for the second google the word ” homegrown”
            it’s a thing, people do it to avoid dealing with the people you mention,
            people grow tomatoes too, it’s a big world out there with more than one option

          7. Janet, I ate my avatar

            and quit the hyperbole ” ethically sourced drugs ” bit of a stretch for a bit of homegrown

          8. Nullzero

            It isn’t alarmist to point out that buying drugs funds criminal gangs who have taken to gunning each other down in public.

            Growing tomatoes isn’t illegal, growing cannabis is illegal. The Gardai won’t raid your house and take away your greenhouse when you’re growing tomatoes. Stop sidestepping the truth and just admit that buying or growing these substances is illegal.

          9. Janet, I ate my avatar

            You really can’t read can you.
            I have at no point defended organised violent crime. Who said anything about buying, only you.

          10. Nullzero

            I can’t read?

            I wasn’t addressing you to begin with, you waded in. You need to get a grip of yourself, thanks for the insult that was in no way based in reality btw.

            When your argument is shown to be invalid just resort to insults. Absolute genius.

          11. Janet, I ate my Avatar

            By read I meant you have your own way of interpretation that is quite original, hardly the highest insult.
            It’s an internet comment thread, the whole point is to wade in if you can see a different view to the one presented.
            I’ll leave you to argue your black crow white.

          12. Nullzero

            “you really can’t read can you” bears no relation to what you are now saying.

            You’ve added nothing to the discussion but defence of criminality (growing your own drugs is an offence in the real world) and insults.
            There is no argument on this, drugs are illegal, until that changes buying, consuming and growing them is a criminal offence.
            Nothing you said invalidates that statement.

          13. Janet, I ate my avatar

            just go back to your assumptions that Milly is finding a criminal mob,
            I’ll give her the benefit of a yes illegal but less dramatic option.

          14. Nullzero

            I’m going to assume that as most drugs in Ireland are imported she is in fact funding criminality. That’s how a rational person would assess it.
            Your fluffy version is all very nice but as you admitted still illegal.

            Millie is bragging about breaking the law, she has no right to be here taking the moral high ground end of.

  18. Crazy lil Liberal

    Terry the new tone police officer of Ireland would ya go do some research… legislation is NOT the place for care pathways. They will be laid out elsewhere. Also recommend you read the Heads of Bill, what is actually in there and how none of your ramblings really make any sense in relation to the proposed legislation. Your ego is showing… …

  19. Chris

    Well done Terry and Broadsheet, for this (above) is such a healthy debate. Great weekend post.
    (I am of course being sarcastic, I don’t want to use the word ‘triggered’ but the above is certainly a poo show of some glory).
    (Also thanks for deleting a couple of my better comments, and perhaps deleting/tootling this one as well).

  20. Chris

    A bully exaggerates the impact
    of your actions on him
    – He exaggerates his pain and suffering

    – He makes you feel guilty for causing his pain

    – He claims you don’t appreciate him
    A bully focuses on past
    and future victimization
    – He frequently reminds you of your past actions that hurt him

    – He replays his pain whenever he wants to manipulate you

    – He brings up his pain long after the event occurred

    – He doesn’t seem to get over things

    – He says you will hurt him again if you don’t do what he wants
    A bully uses his victimization
    to avoid changing his behavior
    – He says you must earn back his trust, good will, friendship, support

    – He claims his belligerence results from his being treated unfairly

    – He becomes angry and indignant when you try to reason with him

    – He says he is tired of doing all the compromising

    – He says he isn’t going to be so polite in the future

    – He suggests that others are ganging up on him
    His favorite phrases
    “You deserted me in my hour of need.”
    “You betrayed my trust in you.”
    “Why are you ruining it for the rest of us?”
    “Don’t you want to help us succeed instead of standing in our way?”
    “You hurt me when you did that.”(or said that)
    “You hurt my feelings when you did that.”(or said that).
    “You hurt others when you did that.”(or said that).
    “You hurt the company when you did that.”(or said that).
    “Go ahead and enjoy yourself. I’ll be okay. I don’t mind.”
    “I work really hard for the company. How can you be so selfish?”
    “How could you do this to me?”
    “I thought I could count on you.”
    “I thought we had an understanding.”
    “I thought we were friends.”
    “You caused my pain, and now you’re making it worse.”
    “Save me from my pain by doing what I want you to.”

  21. fluffybiscuits

    Broadsheet …has certainly out done itself in regards to becoming a mouth piece for what are in my opinion ramblings of people who bear no relevance to modern society because they are out of touch. Terry wrote a piece, a lot of comments came up and now he receives another column to defend himself, what sort of drains are we dredging here for this self serving drivel? Between this and giving Gemma O Doherty a mouthpiece I am very surprised that Broadsheet is swinging to the ever dying gammons that inhabit the internet and their ludicrous statements.

    “They didn’t know me but that didn’t stop them becoming self-styled experts on my motivations. They may have had ‘humanitarian’ in their bio but, trite as it sounds, all they had was hate in their hearts.

    It was relentless and cruel and deliberate. And, it has to be said, the people who did know me felt no need to come to any defence. Asking basic questions had rendered me a botty, forever more.

    Social media exploded during the campaign. Language was bastardised into the philosophy of convenience and complex morality was dismissed as the weapon of the ignorant. Any deviation was aggressively rejected or turned into an accusation of way-to-make-it-be-all-about-you.”

    Here is the ironic piece, you are accusing your detractors of trying to use language to shift the debate and frame it as if a fetus does not matter, a fetus is the scientific term and no amount of hand wringing is going to change that fact. No morals apply here, only human rights for the woman and the woman alone. Spinning it any other way is the height of disingenuity and frankly is appaling. My own view is I perceive your views to be misogynistic and its those views alone I am speaking of that you have posted. Muddying the waters in some attempt to legitimise a battle of hearts and mind that meant you were on the losing side is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    On your own twitter feed you said in April

    “A deeply personal and profoundly private decision for a woman, or couple, abortion is nobody’s business except for the people involved. This campaign is sickening for some. Private lives turned into a public circus. For others it’s a call to arms. A reckoning. But some are lost.”

    So now there is suddenly a case of your moralising…Is this some sort of attention seeking Terry? Of course you might need another column to respond to it…..

    1. John 'Preposterous' Ryan

      Fluffybiscuits, thank you for your comment and welcome back. As you know the views expressed in columns are personal to the authors and do not reflect an editorial position. Terry is entitled to share his thoughts – however outlandish they may seem to you – with our readers as is Gemma and anyone else for that matter. It is a courtesy you yourself have been afforded over the years and will, I hope, avail of again.

    2. Nullzero

      You lost me at Gammon.

      Casual racism against white men is so on trend right now. How dare a white man do anything but agree with you? Automatically he’s a legitimate target for bigoted nonsense.

        1. Cian

          I’m guessing here: the term ‘gammon’ is (arguably) racist.

          Gammon is a pejorative term used in British political culture […]. In 2018 it became particularly known as a term to describe white people, especially those on the political right or who supported Brexit, who appear pink-faced when emotional. The term is a comparison of their flushed skin colour to the pink of gammon.


          1. McVitty

            Of course it is – it is a very loaded put-down.

            When we decide something is deplorable or not worthy of fair treatment….it’s remarkable how the standard can shift.

    3. McVitty

      Would be interested to hear your 2 cents on my comment below. It’s not necessarily about the abortion debate. It’s a question of whether we can call ourselves a free democratic people if the power structures aren’t re-balanced.

      I don’t think religion belongs in schools and by extension of that, I think it is unacceptable for political views to infiltrate the workplace as they have in Google etc etc. or dominate state-funded media. Just because your politics are with the politics of the day and you think you are on the side of good does not make is acceptable. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If we can’t agree on that principle, we live on very different planets.

  22. Steph Pinker

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

    May I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors Terry.

  23. McVitty

    I think I have a handle on things at this point. This is no longer liberalism. Liberals would seek to take gender etc etc out of things, not re-insert them to achieve power – this is leftism, and relatively hard..harder than they would have you believe.

    Leftism hijacked liberalism and anyone who pipes up about it gets called a nazi before being flung under the bus (like the guy who wrote this). And all in the name of “compassion”.

    As bullies, they engage in the worst kind of bullying – passive aggression, which is subtle..by the time you realise what’s going on, it has been going on too long to take a soft stance….so you fight back in a way that looks disproportionate and makes you look like the bad guy. This is what is happening.

    They now dominate the media and the public space (as seen in the pic in the article) and decide (in a gerrymandering way) the parameters of the debate. The triumphalism after the yes vote carried showed just how much brass neck and power is involved.

    I’ll say this: we should query what is happening in terms of the dynamics of power – who sets the agenda at RTE, who decides (or promotes the idea at the dept of education) that in order to facilitate social progress, we need to replace a constitution-based civics class with some post-modernist garbage that tells people we are all equally worthless – or that someone descended from people that suffered adversity gets moved up in the queue (because that would never result in resentment – right?!).

    When we understand these kinds of things, we should look at ourselves, acknowledge that we are a sovereign people of rich cultural tradition (we survived the English and the Church) and capable of better and then…finally, to take back liberalism and live it on our terms. Right now, Church is done with, our plight under English rule is almost a myth, and this so-called “liberalism” has the boot on our necks and we need to stand up to it before it destroys us culturally and socially.

    Don’t expect Fintan O’Toole to enlighten you in the meantime…he loves this cultural marxism stuff. If you asked him if an “Irish language month” was a good idea, his gut reflex would be to say no.

    1. Nigel

      Yeah, this is all perfectly logical and rational thinking because Terry wrote a piece that invoked this weird painkiller thing with absolutely no reference to any actual source and everybody found it risible, and finding this sort of unsourced disinformation risible is the real bullying, apparently. This is the second (at least) time the specter of someone being called a Nazi has been invoked, despite the fact that nobody in either thread made any effort to call Terry a Nazi or a fascist. Nothing like a progressive victory to send some people off into paroxysms of concern trolling and tone policing.

  24. f_lawless

    I sometimes wonder could you put it down, partly at least, to globalisation and the influence political discourse in the US might have over people here. The ‘liberal left’ there have been losing their way more and more in an increasingly toxic political climate where identity politics, rabid partisanship and ‘foreign meddling’ hysteria are encouraged to keep everyone from focusing on the main problem – that the US political system has been hijacked by corporate power. Left minded people here who absorb US ‘leftwing’ corporate media to form part of their world view, might then be going on to adopt the same manner of discourse? Just an idea

    1. McVitty

      you are on the money – aligning women’s rights, gay rights etc with globalisation is a wonderful strategy for the globalist….and a master-stroke for those who desire a divided society and bankrupt culture.

    2. Nigel

      Mostly I blame people who vaguely but insistently blame the left while the right screams its way hysterically towards an apocalypse of idiocy.

      1. McVitty

        I would be inclined to side with the rational people who object to and note the bare-faced irony of Storm Daniels being a mouth-piece for rape-culture on the (very creepy) Ray Darcy show this Sat – and to add insult to injury, we had a glamorous prostitute/extortionist telling young girls that it’s ok to use your body to succeed (she calls it “work smart” – as in, easier work). It was pretty vulgar and insensitive/irresponsible interview for the national broadcaster to facilitate. And somehow this aligned with feminism and progress? This is leftist idiocy and it has a much bigger platform.

        1. Nigel

          The (supposedly Christian ‘family values’ lawnorder) right wing president of the United States has slept with an adult movie star and paid her off to keep her silent and she is breaking that silence in an ugly and unedifying public and legal feud but this is all somehow the fault of the left and feminism you are completely and hilariously out of your freaking gourd.

          1. McVitty

            I don’t care for Trump myself. I don’t think he stands for anything but personal gain. He takes very little of my energy. It’s that America has fallen so low that people would elect a guy like Trump is the take-away point…not Trump himself. Even if it hurts Trump, it is not a good thing to take someone like Story Daniels and make her a folk-hero of the feminist movement – which is what the left is seeking to do. Surely you can see it’s not without cost?

            She is a tool of the left. That is what I am saying. And her message is destructive.

          2. Nigel

            I’m sorry but painting her as a tool of the left is such a great big steaming pile of rubbish. She’s entirely her own creation, put in this position by the Trump and the right and emblematic only of the utterly hollow shell that conservative values were all along. Leaving Trump out of the equation when assessing the reasons for and the effect of her current prominence in order to condemn the left because they’re not above getting a kick out of seeing Trump and the right exposed by a woman who seems able to take them on on their own terms is just laughable. The hypocritical sham of conservative values that have ruined and constrained lives for decades, now those were, and are, destructive.

          3. McVitty

            My God man, do you not get the sense that I could be a person that does not like dominant power, group- think, mob justice, etc etc??

            You should come down from your perch and take some things at face value. This left-right stuff is absolute distraction and intellectual sludge that we should be above. You can only talk in tired tropes and need cliches and stereotypes to navigate – walking sticks for the weak and helpless!

            You aught to entertain the idea that the new liberalism is a lot like old leftism and it isn’t really liberal at all in practice but you don’t care about that kind of thing because you align ideologically and the ends justify the means – which is to say that obscenely undemocratic discourse demonstrated during a civil referendum is perfectly acceptable.

            The original post has some self pity to it but he learned that when he challenged the consensus you stand for, he was no longer treated as a decent person. The road we are down gives a social justice activist the empowerment to kick a person to death for not being sufficiently compassionate. Again, would this concern you? unlikely.

          4. Nigel

            For someone so set on rejecting the left-right paradigm you sure spend a lot of time haranguing the left and ignoring the right. And you’re terribly concerned about people criticising someone who routinely calls others psychopaths

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