Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a bill into law that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.
"As governor, I represent all 4 million Oklahomans and they overwhelmingly support protecting life in the state of Oklahoma. We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma," the governor said.
Senate Bill 612, which cleared the state Senate last year and the House earlier this month, makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform one a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both. The law does not provide exceptions in cases of rape and incest.
Under the measure, the woman would not be criminally charged or convicted for the death of her "unborn child." The legislation does not prohibit the use, sale, prescription or administration of contraceptives.
The governor was joined at the signing by members of the Oklahoma legislature, faith leaders from across the state, as well as representatives from anti-abortion advocacy groups.
"I know this bill will be challenged immediately by liberal activists from the coast, who always seem to want to come in and dictate, and mandate, and challenge our way of life here in the state of Oklahoma. The most important thing is to take a stand and protect the unborn and protect life in the state of Oklahoma," Stitt added.
Stitt's signature on the legislation made Oklahoma the latest Republican-led state to approve new restrictions on abortion access in recent weeks. Last month, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a ban on most abortions in the state after 15 weeks, similar to a Mississippi law that's before the US Supreme Court, and South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has signed legislation that further restricts access to medication abortions in the state.