THE tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway last month has brought the divisive issue of abortion back into the spotlight, and this week The Corkman has surveyed Cork TDs on their stance on the matter.
The facts surrounding Mrs Halappanavar's death have yet to be fully established, but what is known is that the 31-year-old dentist was 17 weeks pregnant when she presented with back pains at University Hospital Galway. She miscarried, and died as a result of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, said that when his wife learned that she was miscarrying, she repeatedly requested a termination over a three day period until there was no sign of a foetal heartbeat.
Mr Halappanavar said this request was declined on the basis of the presence of a foetal heartbeat. He said they were also told that "this is a Catholic country" and that, as such, a termination was not possible.
Her death has led to a national outcry, with thousands taking to the streets calling for legislation to settle the issue.
Last April, United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly brought a bill to the Dáil calling for legislation in line with the Supreme Court's ruling on the 1992 X Case.
The ruling declared that the constitution allows for the termination of a pregnancy when the mother's life is at risk, including the risk of suicide.
A referendum in 2002, proposing that the risk of suicide be removed as grounds for an abortion, was narrowly defeated.
All seven TDs from Cork East and Cork North West voted against Deputy Daly's bill, and two TDs - Fine Gael's Tom Barry and Aine Collins - spoke on the record against it.
We asked these seven TDs for their stance on abortion following the reaction to the events of the past week. Michael Creed (FG): "To argue for legislation on the X Case from the tragic case in Galway is a quantum leap with no basis in fact.
"The chairman of the Medical Council said that the Medical Council Guidelines are clear. I don't want to comment on it until we know all the facts, it would be unfair to do so.
"There is, however, a degree of campaigning by prochoice advocates on the back of what happened there.
"Legislation on the X Case would allow for abortion up to the day before birth if the mother claims she is suicidal. Regardless of the Galway case, and as a citizen, parent and legislator I am as appalled as anyone else at what happened there.
"If the current medical council guidelines need to be affirmed in legislation, my understanding is as a parent that the current guidelines are sufficient. If they need to be affirmed in legislation so be it, but it would not be sound legislation if we were to construct legislation on the basis of unsubstantiated reports. MICHAEL MOYNIHAN (FF): "What we need to do now is to bring absolute clarity to the situation once and for all.
"There was an attempt made to bring some clarity at the last referendum and it failed, but what needs to be done now is to ensure that absolutely everybody, the medics, nurses and doctors know exactly where they stand. There can be no fudge on this.
"The death in Galway was extremely unfortunate, and there is a need in light of this to come to an informed decision and if it takes a week, two weeks, three weeks or more, we need to bring clarity to this situation."
AINE COLLINS (FG): no reply