A federal judge granted a request today to temporarily block enforcement of a new Arkansas law that bans most abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy. District Judge Susan Webber Wright granted a motion for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit that the ACLU of Arkansas and the Center for Reproductive Rights brought on behalf of two Little Rock abortion providers. Today's decision means the ban, which was set to take effect in August, can't be enforced while the lawsuit is pending. A decision about the law's constitutionality is expected later.
Wright's decision comes days after she rejected Arkansas' attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed. The state has said the groups don't have standing to challenge the ban since it won't take effect until August. But Wright disagreed in an order earlier this week, saying the threat of enforcement was enough to challenge the law. (Read more abortion rights stories.)