An Indian-origin woman who died after a miscarriage was not refused an abortion on religious grounds, staff at an Irish hospital have revealed.
Lawyers acting for University Hospital Galway told an inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar that they would strenuously dispute the story, the BBC reported.
AdvertisementHer widower, Praveen Halappanavar, said that she made three requests to doctors for a termination during her miscarriage.
He claims staff refused because Ireland is "a Catholic country".
Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, died in October, several days after she had been admitted to University Hospital Galway suffering from back pain.
The story made headlines around the world and reignited the debate about the Republic of Ireland's abortion legislation.
On the opening day of her inquest on Monday, her widower recounted details of some of the conversations they had with staff at the hospital during her final days.
Halappanavar told the court that his wife made three separate requests for a termination, in front of a number of doctors.
He alleged that a consultant obstetrician, Dr Katherine Astbury, said she could not give his wife an abortion because Ireland was a Catholic country and there was still a foetal heartbeat.
However, lawyers for the hospital said Dr Astbury will strenuously dispute his allegations.
They said the consultant obstetrician maintains that there was only one conversation with Halappanavar about the possibility of a termination and that the discussion took place on 22 October.
Lawyers said Dr Astbury will tell the inquest that a termination was not warranted at that stage because Halappanavar's life was not under threat.
The doctor will also reject claims that she used the term Catholic Ireland, the court heard.
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