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Judge keeps abortion waiting-period law on hold

A federal judge Friday blocked Wisconsin from enforcing an abortion waiting-period law until the state prepares the materials that abortion providers are required to distribute.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb extended a temporary restraining order that has been in effect since April 1996, soon after Gov. Tommy Thompson signed the law and Planned Parenthood challenged it.The law requires women to meet with a physician 24 hours before obtaining an abortion, except in certain cases of rape and incest.

Physicians must provide verbal and state-published information about the procedure, risks and alternatives and fetal development. Doctors who disobey the law face fines of up to $10,000 and could lose their licenses.

The Department of Health and Family Services hopes to have the materials ready by the end of the year. The materials will include a list of county services for pregnant women, a certification form and a color brochure that will include the information about fetal development.

The department has consulted with doctors and with other states to develop the materials, and will have doctors review the brochure for accuracy, Health and Family Services Secretary Joe Leean said.