OKLAHOMA CITY — Despite facing some of the nation’s strictest anti-abortion laws, a Kansas-based foundation opened a new facility in Oklahoma City – the first new abortion provider in the state in 40 years.

The Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center welcomed the first patients last week to its clinic on the city’s south side. Six licensed physicians are providing services there, including abortions, OB-GYN care, family planning, adoption and emergency contraception.

“If you look at this part of the country, there is a lack of access to reproductive health care, and frankly a lack of access to health care across the board,” Trust Women’s founder and CEO Julie Burkhart said Friday. “It’s hard for women who want to give birth to find OB-GYNs to help them deliver their babies.”

Trust Women says Oklahoma City was the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without an abortion provider, and the state’s last clinic opened in 1974. The only other abortion providers in the state are in Norman and Tulsa.

Dr. Naresh Patel performed abortions for decades at his clinic in the Oklahoma City suburb of Warr Acres before he gave up his license last year as part of a plea deal to fraud charges alleging he sold abortion-inducing drugs to women who weren’t actually pregnant.

Trust Women opened its first clinic in Wichita, Kansas, in 2013 following the shooting death of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, with whom Burkhart worked for seven years.

Burkhart said she expects the Oklahoma clinic will provide about 1,500 abortions in its first year, increasing to as many as 3,000 per year after a few years.

Oklahoma’s Republican-led Legislature has passed some of the most far-reaching anti-abortion bills in the country, including a measure that would have made it a felony to perform the procedure in Oklahoma. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the measure.