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Arkansas governor signs 18-week abortion ban into law

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Pro-choice activists hold signs alongside anti-abortion activists participating in the 'March for Life,' an annual event to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the US, outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 18, 2019. (Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ Republican governor has signed into law a measure banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, enacting one of the strictest prohibitions in the country.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed the measure, which includes exceptions for rape, incest and medical emergencies. Arkansas already bans abortion 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.

The ban will take effect 90 days after the Legislature formally adjourns this year’s session, which is expected to occur in May. A nearly identical 18-week ban has been sent to Utah’s Republican governor.

Other states have sought to enact even stricter bans.

Kentucky’s governor signed legislation Friday banning abortion as early as six weeks, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to block it from taking effect.

Opponents have said they plan to challenge Arkansas’ ban in court.

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