UPDATED 11:30 AM PT – Thursday, May 26, 2022
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) signed the nation’s strictest abortion bill into law. On Wednesday, Stitt approved the legislation which places a ban on abortions from the point of conception.
The law takes effect immediately upon the governor’s signature and prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. Abortion providers have said they will stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill is signed.
“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 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.”
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. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/vQJdwkDJZN
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 26, 2022
Just this year, Oklahoma has passed three separate bans on abortion. Abortion rights advocates stress that the bans could eliminate access to abortion across the South. The bill does make an exception for rape and incest, or to save the life of the mother.
“Right now patients in Oklahoma are being thrown into a state of chaos and fear,” voiced Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “That chaos will only intensify as surrounding states cut off access as well. We will not stop fighting for the people of Oklahoma and for everyone across the country.”
The law would be enforced by private citizens, giving them the ability to sue abortion providers and others who help a woman terminate a pregnancy for up to $10,000. The law is now in effect.