Under the measure, abortions are prohibited at any stage of pregnancy, with the exception of medical emergencies or if the pregnancy was the result of rape, sexual assault or incest and reported to the police.
The law defines “fertilization” as “the fusion of a human sperm cell with a human egg”. While the bill considers that pregnancy begins with conception and not implantation, the bill does not restrict the use of contraceptives that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a uterus. Under the bill, abortion “does not include using, prescribing, administering, obtaining or selling Plan B, morning after pills, or any other form of birth control or emergency contraception.”
After the bill was signed, Stitt said in a statement, “I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every bit of pro-life legislation that came on my desk and I’m proud to be able to deliver on that promise today.”
“From the moment life begins at conception, we as humans have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the mother’s life,” Stitt continued, adding that “if other States want to pass different laws, that’s their right, but in Oklahoma we will always stand up for life.”
The governor’s signature comes as Republican-led states have passed strict abortion measures pending the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe in a case involving an abortion law in Mississippi. Earlier this month, a leaked draft opinion written by Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito showed that the conservative-majority court was poised to overturn the federal constitutional right to abortion.
The final verdict in the case has not been released and votes and language may change before then. The advisory is not expected to be issued until the end of June.
While many states have so-called trigger laws on their books, banning abortions in the event that the Supreme Court overturns Roe, Oklahoma’s bill went into effect after Stitt’s approval.
Abortion rights advocates warn that the bans in Oklahoma would eliminate access to abortion in the South, devastating not only Oklahomans, but also Texans seeking abortion care in the state.
This story has been updated with additional details.
Rebekah Riess, Jeremy Grisham and Devan Cole of CNN contributed to this report.