- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge on Monday extended until March her order temporarily blocking Arkansas from enforcing its limits on how the abortion pill is administered, agreeing to a request from both sides in the challenge to the new law.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted the joint request from the state and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is suing Arkansas over the restrictions that were supposed to take effect Jan. 1. Baker, who had initially blocked the law until Jan. 14, extended her order to March 14.

The new law requires abortion pill providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The law also requires doctors providing the pill to maintain a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

Planned Parenthood says the requirements would have effectively ended access to the abortion pill in Arkansas since it’s been unable to find any doctor to contract with the organization.

“This ruling means women in Arkansas, at least for the time being, will continue to be able to access medication abortion as the lawsuit moves forward,” Angie Remington, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in an email. “For those women, this isn’t about politics - it’s about having the ability to make their own medical decisions, and for their doctors to be able to provide the care that is best for them.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office did not immediately have a comment.

Baker’s order also set deadlines for filings in the case, with a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction planned before the temporary order ends.

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