Senate Bill 612, which cleared the state Senate last year and the House earlier this month, will make 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.
Stitt will be joined at the signing ceremony Tuesday by members of the state legislature, faith leaders and a number of anti-abortion groups “in support of protecting lives of unborn children in Oklahoma,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Stitt’s signature on the legislation will make 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.
In Idaho, the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked legislation recently signed by Republican Gov. Brad Little that was modeled after Texas’ law that bans abortions after about six weeks. Idaho had become the first state to follow the controversial Texas statute that allows private citizens to enforce the restrictions with lawsuits.
Oklahoma Republican state Rep. Jim Olsen, SB 612’s principal House author, previously told CNN that he believes “rape and incest is a horrible crime” and though the baby is conceived in a “horrible situation” that it “still has a right to life.”
“The baby should not be liable for the sins of the father,” he said. “It’s still a life.”
The bill was decried by abortion rights proponents throughout the legislative process, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which said last week that the law “would be devastating” for Oklahomans and also Texans, who make up nearly half of the patients who seek abortion care in Oklahoma.
“Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek this basic health care,” the group said in a news release.
The Oklahoma state Senate is also considering legislation, House Bill 4327, modeled after the controversial Texas law. That bill would ban most abortions at any point in pregnancy and allow private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation.