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Judge temporarily blocks restrictive Kentucky abortion law

Judge temporarily blocks restrictive Kentucky abortion law
Abortion-rights advocates and anti-abortion activists square off at the Supreme Court during the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C., on January 18, 2019. On Thursday, a federal judge blocked Kentucky's new abortion law that essentially bans the procedure. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 21 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday issued a temporary order pausing Kentucky's new abortion law, which effectively outlaws the procedure in the state.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings approved the temporary restraining order that stems from a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood challenging the legality of the law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. The legislative body overrode Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's veto of the bill earlier this month.

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Planned Parenthood is one of two abortion providers in Kentucky, both of which said that they'll have to shutter under the new law. EMW Women's Surgical Center, the other provider, also filed its own lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood said that while the Kentucky law doesn't outright ban all abortions in the state, the restrictions would make it impossible for the two centers to comply it. Therefore, the law is "an unconstitutional ban on abortion in Kentucky," the suit said.

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Jennings allowed for the law to be blocked while the Planned Parenthood case is litigated.

The omnibus bill bans the distribution of abortion pills by mail, tightens requirements for minors seeking abortions, and orders the creation of a system to register and monitor abortions.

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Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, praised Jennings' ruling.

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"We're grateful for the temporary restraining order restricting this egregious abortion ban from continuing to block a constitutionally protected right to basic care," she said. "This is a win, but it is only the first step. We're prepared to fight for our patients' right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power in ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky."

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