Alabama judge temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

An Alabama federal judge temporarily blocked two new abortion restrictions that would ban clinics from operating near schools and outlaw the most commonly used second trimester abortion procedure, according to The Herald.

The laws were set to take effect Aug. 1. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a restraining order to block the state from enforcing the laws until after a second hearing Oct. 4. His order will stay in place for three weeks following the hearing.

Ala. Governor Robert Bentley signed into law a ban on all abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of public K-8 schools in May 2016. He also banned the use of a second trimester abortion procedure called dilation & evacuation, a practice that uses forceps to remove contents of the uterus.

The law specifically targeted the Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, which is down the street from a K-8 magnet school. It would also effect a women's clinic in Tuscaloosa, whose property lines back into the same wooded area as the nearest school, a mile away.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the two locations performed 72 percent of the state's abortions in 2014.

The American Civil Liberties Union challenged both laws, arguing the location restriction will ban access to two of the state's most active clinics. The procedure ban would block access to second trimester abortions.

Supporters argued that abortion clinics should not be located near schools and likened the location restriction to reasonable zoning requirements. Lawmakers who supported both bills also compared surgical abortions to medieval forms of punishment, according to The Herald.

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