A federal judge in North Dakota on Monday blocked the state's law banning abortions as early as six weeks after fertilization, ruling the measure cannot take effect until the legal challenge it faces is resolved.

The preliminary injunction granted at the request of the Center for Reproductive Rights means the nation's most restrictive abortion law--which would bar abortions as soon as the fetal heartbeat is detectable--will not take effect Aug. 1, as originally planned. it also suggests that even as states across the country enact measures limiting abortion access, some of these laws may never take effect because of stiff legal challenges.