Federal judge blocks enforcement of Arkansas ban on most abortions

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked enforcement of a newly enacted Arkansas law banning all abortions except in medical emergencies until she had a chance to decide a legal challenge to the statute on its merits.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker, sitting in state capital Little Rock, issued a preliminary injunction sought by opponents of the measure, one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the United States. It was due to take effect next Wednesday.

Passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed into law in March by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, the measure would make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman.

No exceptions are permitted for cases of rape or incest.

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