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Judge Won’t Block Wis. Abortion Law

May 14, 1998

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ A federal judge refused to block a state law banning a late-term abortion procedure, clearing the way for it to take effect today.

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz on Wednesday denied a temporary restraining order requested by Planned Parenthood, which immediately appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

``This came as a total surprise,″ Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Chris Korsmo said. ``We believe his decision will be overturned.″

The law bans a late-term procedure in which a fetus is partly delivered through the birth canal and destroyed. Under the law, physicians who perform the procedure face life in prison, unless no other medical action would have saved the woman’s life.

Shabaz ruled that Planned Parenthood failed to show people would be ``irreparably harmed″ if he did not issue the injunction.

Planned Parenthood sued April 30, the day after Gov. Tommy Thompson signed the ban into law. The group contends the law is vague, interferes with a woman’s right to choose her medical treatment and violates a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by imposing a life prison sentence.

State attorneys argue the law is constitutional, but they did not oppose the group’s request for a temporary restraining order pending the case’s outcome.

Wisconsin Right To Life praised Shabaz’s ruling.

``We’re very pleased that he had the courage to see the wisdom of this law,″ said Mary Klaver, an attorney for the group.

At least 19 states have enacted similar laws, and they have been challenged in 16 states, Planned Parenthood officials have said.

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