Louisiana’s new restrictive abortion law won't be enforced yet, judge rules

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.

Federal judge rules doctors, clinics can't be penalized for breaking law while challenge is heard

Abortion rights supporters take a stand outside the governor's mansion Friday after a federal judge in Austin, Texas, struck down 2 provisions of a 2013 Texas law that restricts abortions. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/Associated Press)

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Louisiana's restrictive new abortion law.

District Judge John deGravelles says the law can still take effect Monday, but officials cannot penalize doctors or clinics for breaking it while a challenge is heard.

The law would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within about 48 kilometres of their clinics. A Centre for Reproductive Rights lawsuit claims doctors haven't had enough time to obtain privileges and the law likely would force Louisiana's five abortion clinics to close.

DeGravelles says the doctors' risk of fines and losing licenses outweighs any injury to the state from keeping the status quo. He noted the state health secretary says she won't enforce the law against doctors who've applied to hospitals but have no decision.