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US judge blocks enforcement of new Louisiana abortion law

By Janet Mcconnaughey

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 31 2014 9:16 p.m. MDT

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BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law. But lawyers disagree about whether his order covers doctors at all five of the state's clinics or only two doctors and three clinics.

District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect Monday. But he says officials cannot penalize the doctors and clinics that sued for breaking it until after a hearing on a broader pretrial order.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. A lawsuit claims that likely would close all five abortion clinics.

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 prosecute doctors while their hospital applications are still undecided.

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