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Arkansas abortion law requiring rape, incest reports signed

April 21, 2021 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday signed into law a measure that will require victims of rape and incest to have first reported the crime to law enforcement before they could undergo an abortion past the state’s 20-week limit.

The measure also adds the reporting requirement to other abortion cutoffs blocked by the courts. It requires abortion providers to document that a crime has been reported to law enforcement if the abortion is being performed on a rape or incest victim past the 20-week cutoff.

The requirement will not apply to a near-total abortion ban Hutchinson signed earlier this year that doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest. Opponents have vowed to challenge that ban in court before it takes effect later this summer.

Opponents of the requirement said it will further victimize women, considering the high number of rapes that aren’t reported to police. About three out of four rapes and sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement, according to the Justice Department.

Supporters have argued the requirement will give the state better data on how many abortions are performed because of rape or incest.

The new requirement will take effect late this summer.