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Judge blocks abortion law

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.

District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect Monday but officials cannot penalize doctors or clinics for breaking it while a challenge is heard.

The law would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometres) of their clinics. A Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit claims doctors haven't had enough time to obtain privileges and the law likely would force Louisiana's five abortion clinics to close.

DeGravelles says the doctors' risk of fines and losing licenses outweighs any injury to the state from keeping the status quo. He noted the state health secretary says she won't enforce the law against doctors who've applied to hospitals but have no decision.

The Canadian Press

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