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Judge blocks new Alabama restrictions on abortion clinics

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A federal judge has blocked new Alabama abortion restrictions that would ban clinics near schools and outlaw a common second trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against the provisions.

Lawmakers last spring voted to ban clinics within 2,000 feet of K-8 public schools and bar the second-trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation.

Thompson said the restrictions would significantly reduce access to abortions in Alabama, adding abortions starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy would become "almost wholly unavailable."

The federal judge said the school proximity law would cause the closure of two clinics that perform 70 percent of abortions in the state.

The laws were to take effect Aug. 1, but enforcement was delayed until after an Oct. 4 hearing before Thompson.

Some in the Huntsville community are not happy with the ruling like Rev. James Henderson. "We know that Judge Thompson's history is that he always rules for abortion. He's always had a track record of supporting abortion. We do expect to appeal and win," Henderson said.