Judge temporarily bars Alabama from enforcing key provision in new abortion law

Judge temporarily bars Alabama from enforcing key provision in new abortion law
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POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 11:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 11:04pm

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Alabama from enforcing a key portion of a new abortion law that requires doctors at an abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson's ruling puts on hold what is considered the lynchpin of Alabama's new abortion law, which is considered one of the toughest in the nation.

Thompson barred the state from enforcing that portion of the law until March 2014, a month after oral arguments are scheduled in a lawsuit brought against the state's attorney general by Planned Parenthood.

The state has argued the measure is designed to protect the health of a patient. The plaintiffs call it medically unnecessary due to the safety of abortion procedures and said enforcement of the section will force them to shut down.

Thompson's order comes just days after federal judges in Wisconsin and North Dakota blocked those states from enforcing new abortion laws.

In Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the law that bans doctors from performing abortions if they don't have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 minutes of their practice.

Conley issued the order after Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed suit. The group alleges the admitting privilege requirement is unconstitutional and treats doctors who perform abortions differently from doctors who perform other types of medical procedures.

In North Dakota, a federal judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of the state's new abortion law that is considered one of the most restrictive in the country, saying it was "unconstitutional."

The North Dakota law bans an abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected -- sometimes as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted a temporary injunction after a Fargo women's clinic filed a lawsuit last month.

In his decision, the judge said "there is no question" that the law known as HB 1456 directly contradicts a "litany" of Supreme Court cases that address restraints on abortion, including Roe v. Wade. 

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