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Kansas judge blocks portions of state's new abortion law

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - A Kansas judge on Friday issued a temporary injunction on two parts of the state's new anti-abortion law, while upholding the majority of far-reaching measure that goes into effect Monday.

Shawnee County District Judge Rebecca Crotty struck down a part of the law that forbids a waiver of the required 24-hour waiting period to be granted based on the woman's mental health.

Crotty also struck down a part of the law requiring abortion providers on their websites to vouch for the accuracy and independence of the state's health department material on abortions.

Crotty ruled that forcing abortion providers to attest to material would be an infringement on free speech.

Kansas is one of a handful of states, primarily in the country's south and midsection, to have passed or enacted laws restricting abortion recently. Some of the measures appeared designed to stand as challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.

Crotty refused to issue an injunction on the rest of the measure, which was signed into law by Republican Governor Sam Brownback in April.

The law defines life as beginning at fertilization, blocks tax credits for abortion services, bars employees of abortion clinics from providing sex education in schools and bans abortions based solely on the gender of the fetus.

Crotty's injunction will stay in effect, pending future hearings, said Teresa Woody, the lawyer for doctors Herbert Hodes and Traci Nauser, who brought the lawsuit.

"We feel very good about it," Woody said regarding the ruling on Friday.

The doctors, who perform abortions, filed suit seeking an injunction on the entire abortion law.

The Kansas abortion law injunction comes on the heels of a legislative battle in Texas over a proposed ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

Republican Governor Rick Perry has called the Texas legislature back into session on Monday to resume consideration of that bill.

Kansas is one of seven states to have laws that say life begins at fertilization, according to the anti-abortion Guttmacher Institute, which researches abortion-related laws nationwide.

(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Lisa Shumaker)

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