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US judge temporarily blocks Mississippi 6-week abortion ban

In this March 20, 2018, file photo, anti-abortion sidewalk counselors call out to a woman entering the Jackson Women's Health Organization's clinic, the only facility in the state that performs abortions, in Jackson, Miss. A new Mississippi law could make it nearly impossible for most pregnant women to get an abortion there if it survives a court challenge. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge is temporarily blocking a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Friday issued an order to stop the law from taking effect July 1.

He heard arguments Tuesday from attorneys for the state’s only abortion clinic, who said the law would effectively eliminate all abortions in the state because cardiac activity is often first detectable around six weeks, when many women may not know they are pregnant.

Mississippi is one of several states that have pushed to enact bans on early abortions this year. Abortion opponents are emboldened by new conservative Supreme Court justices and are looking for ways to challenge the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

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