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Federal judge blocks Arkansas law banning abortions after 12 weeks

On Friday, a federal judge granted an injunction against a law that would have banned most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The judge said the law was likely unconstitutional.

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Doctors who violate the law risk having their licenses revoked by the state medical board.

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The Republican-controlled legislature passed the measure in March. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto.

Abortion foes said on Friday they were still hopeful the law would ultimately be allowed to go ahead.

"We are disappointed that Judge Susan Webber Wright has stopped the enforcement of this very good pro-life law," said Jerry Cox, president of the anti-abortion Family Council group. "However, we are very hopeful that she will issue a ruling that this law is constitutional when this case is fully debated in court."

Eleven states, including Arkansas, already ban abortions for pregnancies of 20 weeks or longer, according toKate Bernyk, spokesman for The Center for Reproductive Rights.

Until recently, Arkansas's proposed law was considered the most restrictive in the nation. But North Dakotaearlier this year passed a law that critics said could ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

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