Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed a bill into law prohibiting most abortions after fertilization, creating the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States.
The law went into effect immediately with Stitt's signature.
Modeled after a Texas law, private citizens in Oklahoma will now be able to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion from "any stage of gestation from fertilization until birth."
The legislation contains exemptions to save the life of a pregnant mother and in cases of "rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement."
The bill passed the Oklahoma Legislature last week.
"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," Stitt wrote in a press release obtained by KOCO.
"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," he said. "If other states want to pass different laws, that is their right, but in Oklahoma we will always stand up for life."
The ACLU of Oklahoma released a statement condemning the law.
"Banning abortion does not eliminate the need for this kind of care - rather it forces people to seek abortion outside of the health care system," executive director Tamya Cox-Touré said. "Attacks on abortion access have and will continue to fall on the most marginalized people: people of color and people struggling to make ends meet. And we have already seen that the politicians passing abortion bans will not stop at pushing care out of reach, as daily attacks on our 2SLGBTQ+ community and attempts to control what we learn in the classroom have become the norm."
Stitt signed another abortion ban into law earlier this month to stop abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is normally when a woman is six weeks pregnant.
An Oklahoma law the governor approved in April made it illegal to perform an abortion, except for in cases of medical emergencies.