Federal Judge to Rule on Alabama Abortion Law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- A federal judge says he will decide Friday whether to temporarily block a new Alabama law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to a nearby hospital.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson heard arguments from attorneys on both sides Thursday. He said he will decide Friday whether to issue a temporary restraining order because the law is supposed to go into effect Monday.

Plaintiffs say it is difficult for abortion clinic physicians to get hospital admitting privileges, and the law would shut down three of Alabama's five licensed abortion clinics. Those clinics in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham provided 40 percent of the abortions done at Alabama clinics last year. Attorneys for the state say the law will enhance the safety of women seeking abortions.

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