May 3 (UPI) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a law banning abortions around the sixth week of pregnancy on Tuesday.
The bill, known formally as S.B. 1503, bans abortions after cardiac activity can be detected, which usually occurs after about six weeks, typically before most people know they are pregnant.
“I am proud to sign S.B. 1503, the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, into law,” Stitt wrote on Twitter. “I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country because I represent all 4 million Oklahomans who overwhelmingly want to protect the unborn.”
S.B. 1503 includes an emergency clause, meaning it takes effect immediately, and a temporary restraining order to stop the measure from going into effect has been denied.
Last month, Stitt also signed S.B. 612, which implements a penalty of up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $100,000 for medical providers convicted of performing or attempting to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.
That law is set to take effect in the summer.
Abortion rights groups, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, have filed a joint lawsuit to block the measures.
“These abortion bans will push abortion access out of reach for many communities who already face often insurmountable barriers to healthcare including Black and brown communities, low-income communities, and people who live in rural areas,” Tamya Cox-Toure, co-chair of Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, said in a statement.
Stitt’s decision to sign the bill into law came as the Supreme Court confirmed a draft opinion to overturn the landmark abortion ruling in Roe vs. Wade that was leaked late Monday is authentic.