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LOUIS, JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI MEDIA MARKETS.**~ A federal judge in Missouri temporarily blocked a sweeping abortion ban Tuesday.
The state law would prohibit abortion after eight weeks, except in cases of medical emergency... one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Missouri last month over the law - which was set to go into effect on Wednesday.
The two advocacy groups asked the judge to put the law on hold until their legal challenge is heard in court.
They argue the new restrictions would cause 'significant and irreparable constitutional, medical, emotional" harm to patients who may not even know they are pregnant at 8 weeks.
Colleen McNicholas, an ob-gyn at Planned Parenthood, spoke out on Monday against the state health department: (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. COLLEEN MCNICHOLAS, OB-GYN, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF THE ST.
LOUIS REGION, SAYING: "I truly believe that abortion should be a decision between a patient and their physician.
Abortion is healthcare and if healthcare organizations can't stand in support of that, I'm not sure who should." Planned Parenthood is locked in a legal battle to keep open its St.
Louis clinic -- the only abortion facility in Missouri.
The now-suspended state law includes a provision that would trigger a total abortion ban in Missouri if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v.
Wade - the 1973 ruling that declares a woman's constitutional right in terminating her pregnancy.