OKLAHOMA CITY ( Associated Press) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed an anti-abortion measure Tuesday similar to Texas’s, which bans termination of pregnancy after the sixth week of gestation, part of a push to nationally in GOP-led states hoping the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the new restrictions.
“I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country,” Stitt tweeted after signing the law.
The initiative promulgated by Stitt comes just one day after a preliminary draft opinion of the federal Supreme Court was leaked in which it considers the possibility of weakening or annulling the historic ruling Roe vs. Wade, who legalized abortion nearly 50 years ago.
The measure takes effect immediately upon Stitt’s signature, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an emergency request to temporarily halt the initiative. Abortion providers say that now that the new law is in place, they will suspend care for women after six weeks of pregnancy.
“As long as the law is in place, which it is now because the governor signed it, services for termination of pregnancy after the sixth week will be virtually unavailable,” said Rabia Muqaddam, a staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in Washington. New York, which represents Oklahoma abortion providers in the case.
“It’s a short-term loss, but we’re hopeful the Oklahoma Supreme Court will still give us some breathing room.”
The new law prohibits abortion once cardiac activity is detected in an embryo, which many experts say occurs around six weeks into the pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
Texas passed a similar measure last year that led to a dramatic drop in the number of abortions in the state, with many women flocking to Oklahoma and neighboring states for the procedure.