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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he supports the bill the state legislature passed that bans most abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Arkansas governor won’t sign religious freedom bill

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a press conference on Wednesday that he would not sign the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in its current form. He said he was sending it back to legislators to make it more closely match the 1993 federal religious freedom law.

The bill, along with a similar law passed in Indiana last week, has been criticized by civil rights groups and businesses that claim the measures allow for discrimination against gays and lesbians. Hutchinson previously said he would sign the measure that state lawmakers passed on Tuesday.

Several businesses have spoken out against the bill. Among the corporations in opposition is Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, whose headquarters is in Arkansas. In a statement released Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the law “threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold.”

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