A federal judge has temporarily blocked a state law that would ban a controversial type of late-term abortion, prompting anger from state officials who say residents support the law.

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne's injunction is effective until a lawsuit challenging the law goes to trial, which is scheduled for Aug. 18. The law was to take effect next Wednesday.State Attorney General Mark Earley said he would immediately appeal Thursday's decision. "Virginia's statute is supported by an overwhelming majority of Virginians," he said.

The General Assembly passed the bill last winter, and it was signed into law by Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The law would ban the so-called "partial-birth" procedure in which the fetus is partially delivered through the birth canal and then destroyed.