Judge blocks Ohio ban on abortions due to Down syndrome

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has put on hold an Ohio law prohibiting doctors from performing abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Judge Timothy Black said Wednesday opponents of the law are "highly likely" to successfully argue the law is unconstitutional. His ruling means the law won't take effect next week while a lawsuit over the law proceeds.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit last month against the state Department of Health, state medical board and county prosecutors on behalf of Planned Parenthood and several abortion providers. It's seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional and thrown out.

The measure was signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) in December.

Attorney general's office spokesman Dan Tierney says the decision is being reviewed but the law will be vigorously defended.