Saturday, September 02, 2000

Judge still blocks partial-birth ban

The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge on Friday extended his order temporarily blocking enforcement of a new state law that bans a late-term abortion procedure.

        U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice extended his temporary restraining order to Sept. 19. The order had been scheduled to expire today.

        The abortion procedure, known medically as dilation and extraction, involves draining the skull of a fetus before the fetus is fully removed from the uterus. Opponents refer to the procedure as partial-birth abortion.

        In May, Gov. Bob Taft signed the bill that declared the abortion procedure a crime, with penalties of up to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.

        Dr. Martin Haskell, owner of Women's Medical Professional Corp., filed a lawsuit challenging that law in July. Dr. Haskell's corporation operates clinics in Cincinnati, Dayton and Akron.

        The law had been scheduled to go into effect Aug. 18, but Judge Rice issued the temporary restraining order blocking its enforcement. A hearing on Dr. Haskell's lawsuit is scheduled for Tuesday.

        Dr. Haskell persuaded Judge Rice in 1995 to reject Ohio's first ban as unconstitutional. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.


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