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Judge puts hold on abortion law

A US federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a Mississippi law that could shut down the only abortion clinic in the state.

US District Judge Daniel P. Jordan in Jackson issued a temporary restraining order the day the new law took effect.

He set a July 11 hearing to determine whether to block the law for a longer time.

"Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the court must follow," Mr Jordan wrote.

The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state's only clinic to be an obstetrician-gynaecologists with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital.

Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business. A clinic spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said the two physicians who do abortions there are obstetrician-gynaecologists who travel from other states.

The clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organisation, filed a lawsuit seeking to block it. The suit says the admitting privileges requirement is not medically necessary and is designed to put the clinic out of business.

If Jackson Women's Health Organisation closes, Mississippi would be the only state without an abortion clinic.

Republican governor Phil Bryant has said repeatedly he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free.

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