ATLANTA (AP) - A federal judge has temporarily blocked Georgia's restrictive new abortion law from taking effect.

The law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. It allows for limited exceptions.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a constitutional challenge. They asked the judge to stop the law from becoming enforceable while litigation is pending.

Lawyers for the state had argued that the law is constitutional and should be allowed to take effect as planned on Jan. 1.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote in an order Tuesday that the current laws governing abortion in the state shall remain in effect for the time being.

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