Former President Mary Robinson says Limbaugh’s ‘slutgate’ reminds her of 1970’s Ireland

Mary Robinson says Rush Limbaugh’s “slutgate”outburst reminds her of 1970s Ireland

Recalls being denounced from Irish pulpits, radio and TV, by men hostile to women

Irish Central

IrishCentral Staff Writer

Rush Limbaugh is yesterday’s man says Ireland’s former president. This week Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and former high commissioner for human rights at the UN, told guests at the Distinguished Speakers Series that Limbaugh and the Republican Party’s current debate over contraception came as an unwelcome surprise.

‘It is inconceivable that in the 21st century we don’t understand the importance of the unmet needs of family planning,’ Robinson told ‘When I heard that story of the Georgetown graduate student who was called a ‘slut,’ it reminded me of what I was called in 1971 in Ireland.’

When Robinson was elected to the Irish Senate in 1969, she introduced legislation to legalize family planning. Her bill sought to amend a 1935 law that had made the selling or purchase of contraception illegal in the Republic. The uproar that followed her move astonished her.

‘I became overnight somebody who was denounced from pulpits, by bishops, denounced in editorials in Catholic newspapers, and it shook me,’ Robinson said. ‘Yet I learned probably one of the most important lessons, which is if you really believe in something then you have to have the courage to be unpopular. Nothing later in life affected me the same way.’

After four years of undergraduate study at Trinity College in Dublin, Robinson travelled to the US in 1968 to study law at Harvard University. In 1990 she was the first woman to be elected president of Ireland, and another woman, Mary McAleese, succeeded her in 1997.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.