Alabama's governor has signed the most stringent abortion ban in the nation.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the measure Wednesday. The law will make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison.

The bill contains an exception for when the pregnancy creates a serious health risk for the woman, but not an exception for rape or incest.

There would be no punishment for the woman receiving the abortion, only for the abortion provider.

Critics have promised a swift lawsuit to challenge Alabama's ban if enacted.

State senators voted for 25-6. It cleared the House of Representatives earlier 74-3.

State Rep. Terri Collins said the goal is to create a court case to challenge the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Sen. Bobby Singleton, who voted against the bill, said the state should be ashamed.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia recently have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Critics have promised a swift lawsuit to challenge the ban if enacted.

Upon signing the bill, Governor Ivey released the following statement:

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.

To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law.

In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years. As today’s bill itself recognizes, that longstanding abortion law has been rendered “unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.”

No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions.  Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.

I want to commend the bill sponsors, Rep. Terri Collins and Sen. Clyde Chambliss, for their strong leadership on this important issue.

For the remainder of this session, I now urge all members of the Alabama Legislature to continue seeking the best ways possible to foster a better Alabama in all regards, from education to public safety. We must give every person the best chance for a quality life and a promising future.”

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)