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Judge, expert spar during Wisconsin abortion trial

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MADISON (AP) — An unusual courtroom discussion between three doctors in a federal trial dealing with Wisconsin’s law requiring abortion providers to get hospital admitting privileges is off to a rocky start.

U.S. District Judge William Conley sparred Thursday morning with Dr. John Thorp, a University of North Carolina obstetrician called by state attorneys to help defend the law. Conley is pressing Thorp to quantify the risks from abortion, but Thorp is resisting.

Thorp says there are no reliable U.S. studies on maternal deaths from abortion.

Conley quips the discussion reminds him of Mark Twain’s quote that there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

Thorp says he is “chilled” by the idea that a federal judge thinks he’s lying.

Conley says he doesn’t think Thorp is lying and didn’t mean to imply that.