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Arkansas governor signs 18-week abortion ban into law

In this Feb. 25, 2018 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting in Washington. Arkansas lawmakers have sent the governor legislation banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman's pregnancy, a prohibition that could be the strictest in the country. The House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, gave final approval by an 86-1 vote to the bill, which Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he supports. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — 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 are poised to enact stricter bans. Kentucky lawmakers have sent the governor legislation banning abortion as early as six weeks, and several states legislatures are advancing similar measures.

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

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