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Federal judge temporarily blocks Wisconsin abortion law

A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin [official website] on Monday issued a temporary restraining order [text, PDF] on a Wisconsin law that would place certain restrictions on abortion providers in the state. Section 1 of 2013 Wisconsin Act 37 [text, PDF] requires that physicians who provide abortion services have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The bill [text] was signed into law [JURIST report] on Friday by Governor Scott Walker [official website] and was challenged within hours by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin (ACLU) [advocacy websites], which filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] alleging that the bill was unconstitutional and requesting a temporary restraining order to block the measure. Larry Dupuis, legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin commented [press release], "We're thankful that the judge has put the brakes on a dangerous law that was rammed through the legislature with no thought to the health and well-being of Wisconsin women and families." A full preliminary injunction hearing regarding the law is set to be held on July 17.

The Wisconsin temporary restraining order is only one of the many recent developments in the ongoing controversy surrounding reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] in the US. Earlier this month Ohio Governor John Kasich also signed abortion restrictions into law [JURIST report], requiring women to undergo ultrasounds prior to receiving an abortion. Last month the US House of Representatives [official website] voted in favor of a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy [JURIST report]. In April North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed a measure [JURIST report] banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation based on the controversial premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Earlier that month, lawmakers in Alabama passed [JURIST report] the Women's Health and Safety Act [text, PDF] which imposes tough restrictions on abortion clinics and practitioners within the state.

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