Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law the nation's strictest abortion ban.
The ban, passed by state lawmakers last week, prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. Stitt signed the bill on Wednesday. Providers have said they will stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill is signed. The law is part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states to scale back abortion rights.
The only exceptions included in the law are to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today,” the first-term Republican said in a statement. “From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother. That is what I believe and that is what the majority of Oklahomans believe.”
“The impact will be disastrous for Oklahomans,” said Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the abortion-rights supporting Guttmacher Institute. “It will also have severe ripple effects, especially for Texas patients who had been traveling to Oklahoma in large numbers after the Texas six-week abortion ban went into effect in September.”