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Judge Blocks Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

November 5, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A federal judge blocked implementation of a federal ban on certain late-term abortions Wednesday less than an hour after President Bush signed the ban into law.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion. He said his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit in Nebraska.

``While it is also true that Congress found that a health exception is not needed, it is, at the very least, problematic whether I should defer to such a conclusion when the Supreme Court has found otherwise,″ Kopf said.

Kopf stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide.

They are: Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Bellevue, Neb.; Dr. William Fitzhugh, who is licensed to practice in Virginia; Dr. William Knorr, licensed in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and New York; and Dr. Jill Vibhakar, who is licensed in Iowa.

Kopf did not immediately schedule the next hearing in the case, at which time he could decide whether to issue a restraining order against implementation of the law.

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