(Reuters) - Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed a bill to ban all abortions in the state, even in cases of rape and incest, in the latest bid by political conservatives challenging the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy.
U.S. abortion-rights activists had already vowed to go court to block enforcement of the Alabama measure, which ranks as the nation's strictest anti-abortion law.
The decision by Ivey, a Republican who opposes abortion, came a day after the Republican-controlled state Senate approved the abortion ban.
"To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement. "To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law."
As passed, the law would take effect in six months. Legislation to restrict abortion rights has been introduced this year in 16 states, four of whose governors have signed bills banning abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Daniel Trotta in New York, additional reporting by Ginger Gibson in Washington and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles, writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)