By Austin Huguelet
A federal judge on Tuesday put the brakes on a new Missouri law banning most abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.
Less than 24 hours before the law was set to take full effect, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs issued an order blocking enforcement of the bans on abortions at eight, 14, 18 and 20 weeks, pending further review.
In the decision, which granted the request of plaintiffs Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Sachs cited several other rulings striking down restrictions on abortions after 20 or fewer weeks of pregnancy and wrote it was "highly likely" the time limits "will be ruled invalid in the final judgment in this case."
Sachs declined to immediately block a provision of the law prohibiting abortions on the basis of a fetus's race, sex or Down syndrome diagnosis, notching a small win for state attorneys. But he wrote plaintiffs were ultimately likely to prevail in striking that provision down as well.