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Federal judge extends 'hold' on Wisconsin abortion law

MADISON (WRN)   A federal judge has extended a temporary hold on a key provision of a new Wisconsin abortion law.

Judge William Conley on Wednesday added another 14 days on to the temporary restraining order he issued last week, which prevents a law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital from being enforced. The extension is expected to remain in place until the judge can rule on whether to issue a preliminary injunction, which would block the law until a trial can be held.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed the challenge on the day Governor Walker signed the bill earlier this month, arguing the measure puts an unconstitutional restriction on abortion services. Planned Parenthood says law would require them to shut down clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee.

Planned Parenthood attorney Lester Pines says he was pleased with Wednesday’s decision to extend the temporary hold, and he’s hopeful the judge will side with them in a ruling that could come within the next two weeks.

Republicans have argued the law is necessary to make sure women undergoing an abortion have immediate access to hospital care, in the event there are complications with the procedure. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests from comment, following Wednesday’s ruling.

The law being challenged also requires women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound before the procedure. Today’s ruling does not impact that portion of the law.

The judge on Wednesday did set a trial date of November 25 for the case.