​Federal judge blocks Alabama’s new anti-abortion laws​

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of two new Alabama abortion laws banning abortion clinics near schools and outlawing a commonly used second-trimester dismemberment abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Wednesday that enforcement of the two new abortion laws in Alabama will be on hold until after a hearing in October.

The laws, passed by the Alabama Legislature this spring and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley, were scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1.

The American Civil Liberties Union in June filed a lawsuit against the restrictions, saying they would dramatically cut abortion access and close the state’s two busiest clinics — the West Alabama Women’s Clinic in Tuscaloosa and the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa performed 72 percent of the 8,080 abortions in Alabama in 2014.

Judge Thompson granted a temporary restraining order on enforcement of the laws — agreed to by both parties —  to allow the state time to respond and to allow the court to consider the case.

Thompson has scheduled an Oct. 4 hearing on a request from abortion providers to permanently block both laws.

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