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Federal judge temporarily blocks new Wisconsin abortion law

By Leslie Bentz, CNN
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
Gov. Scott Walker signed a law on Friday banning doctors from performing abortions if they don't have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 minutes of their practice.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a law on Friday banning doctors from performing abortions if they don't have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 minutes of their practice.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Law says doctors can't perform abortions without admitting privileges in nearby hospitals
  • Planned Parenthood files suit
  • The judge sides with the group
  • The restraining order will stay in place until another hearing next week

Washington (CNN) -- A Wisconsin federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order preventing the state from enforcing a new and restrictive abortion law.

The law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker on Friday, bans doctors from performing abortions if they don't have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 minutes of their practice.

U.S. District Judge William Conley granted the hold Monday after the 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.

Conley agreed.

"There is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement," he wrote in his 19-page ruling.

He added that the U.S. Supreme Court precedent places the burden upon states to show such laws are "reasonably directed to the preservation of maternal health."

To that end, "the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement," he said.

The restraining order will stay in place pending a fuller hearing on July 17.

The law, which took effect Monday, also requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion, but that portion of the law was not challenged in the Planned Parenthood suit.

Opponents of the Wisconsin legislation allege that restrictions in the law would force the closing of several abortion clinics, and that the law is simply a way to make access to abortions more difficult.

Supporters insist that it would guarantee a safer environment for a woman suffering from abortion-related complications.

Judge Conley questioned that contention, saying, "The current system already handles efficiently the very low percentage of women seeking abortions with serious complications."

CNN reached out to Walker's office for response and is awaiting a response.

Texas abortion showdown continues

CNN's Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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