01:10 GMT15 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A US federal judge has ruled to temporarily block three new anti-abortion laws in the state of Arkansas that were meant to take effect on Wednesday, the KATV news outlet reported.

    According to the outlet, US District Judge Kristine Baker has blocked several proposed laws, including one that would ban women in Arkansas from getting surgical abortions performed at up to 18 weeks of pregnancy or in the case of fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

    Other news outlets have reported that Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order on the laws shortly before midnight (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

    On Monday, doctors and statisticians testified before Baker on behalf of the US American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the anti-abortion laws on behalf of Arkansas' Little Rock Family Planning Services and Planned Parenthood clinic. If the law were to go in effect, it would cause another centre, the only clinic in the state that performs surgical abortions, to close.

    Abortion has been a hotly contested issue in the United States for years. Under US President Donald Trump, the country has introduced several measures meant to block, restrict or repeal pro-abortion laws, and cut federal funding for abortion clinics.

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