Oklahoma City, OK – The governor signed a bill into law on Tuesday making it a felony to perform an abortion in the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Senate Bill 612 made saving the life of the mother the only exception to the state’s new abortion ban, NBC News reported.
“We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said when he signed the bill surrounded by lawmakers, clergy, and activists.
Stitt ran for office on a pro-life platform, NBC News reported.
“I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk, and that’s what we’re doing here today,” the governor said.
The new law will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns in May, NBC News reported.
Violations of the law are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The new law does not permit criminal charges to be filed against the woman who received the abortion, NBC News reported.
The bill’s author, Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm, bragged it was the “strongest pro-life legislation in the country right now, which effectively eliminates abortion in Oklahoma.”
Pro-choice activists said they thought the new law was unconstitutional and expected it would be blocked by federal courts in the same way similar laws in Arkansas and Alabama were stopped, NBC News reported.
“Oklahoma legislators are trying to ban abortion from all sides and merely seeing which of these dangerous, shameful bills they can get their governor to sign,” Physicians for Reproductive Health board member Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi said in a statement.
Critics said that anti-abortion activists had been buoyed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas’ new law restricting abortions to stand, NBC News reported.
The new law in Texas puts enforcement in civilian hands and awards a $10,000 bounty to citizens who bring a successful suit against a provider.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to stop Texas from nullifying the constitutional right to abortion has emboldened other states to do the same,” New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement. “We’ve sued the state of Oklahoma ten times in the last decade to protect abortion access and we will challenge this law as well to stop this travesty from ever taking effect.”
Texas law bans abortion past six weeks with no exceptions, NBC News reported.
Oklahoma law previously permitted abortions until 20 weeks.
Patients from both states will have to travel to Kansas for the closest abortion provider after Oklahoma’s new law goes into effect, NBC News reported.