The US state of Arkansas has passed a Bill protecting children while in the womb.
Members of its House of Representatives have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a state-wide ban on abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life is thought to be at serious risk.
The measure, ratified by Governor Asa Hutchinson, is due to take effect in the summer.
‘Crime against humanity’
The new law upholds the belief that “life begins at the moment of conception” and maintains that the child in a woman’s womb is “a human being”.
Doctors who perform or attempt to perform an abortion, except to save the life of the mother, face a hefty fine and/or up to ten years in prison.
Senator Jason Rapert, who sponsored the Bill, said it is “past time for us to abolish abortion” and described it as “a crime against humanity”.
Gov Hutchinson said that he had signed the Bill because of “overwhelming legislative support” and because of his “sincere and long-held pro-life convictions”.
Abortion was legalised in the US almost 50 years ago, following the landmark Roe v Wade case.
Supporters expect the recent ban to be challenged by abortion lobbyists.
According to the US research organisation the Guttmacher Institute, 20 other states are seeking to introduce new laws to protect unborn life.