Judge temporarily blocks new Arkansas anti-abortion laws

Judge temporarily blocks new Arkansas anti-abortion laws

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked three new abortion restrictions from taking effect in Arkansas, including a measure that opponents say would likely force the state's only surgical abortion clinic to close.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order shortly before midnight Tuesday. The 159-page order blocks the state from enforcing the new laws, including a measure prohibiting the procedure 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. They also included a requirement that doctors performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. An official with a Little Rock clinic that performs surgical abortions says it has one physician who meets that requirement, but he only works there a few days every other month.

Baker also blocked a law prohibiting doctors from performing an abortion if it’s being sought because the fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.