North Dakota adopted one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country Monday when Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a law banning the procedure at six weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest.

«This bill clarifies and refines existing state law … and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,» Burgum said in a statement.

The law is designed to take effect immediately, but last month the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that a state abortion ban will remain blocked while a lawsuit continues over its constitutionality. Lawmakers last week said they planned to pass the latest bill to send a message to the state’s high court that the people of North Dakota want to restrict abortion.

Supporters have said the measure signed Monday protects all human life, while opponents say it will have dire consequences for women and girls.

Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal of Edinburg had sponsored the bill.

“North Dakota has always been pro-life and believed in valuing both mothers and children,” Myrdal said in an interview with The Associated Press after Burgum signed the bill into law. “We are quite happy and grateful that the governor supports that value.”

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