Abortion in California

Overview of Abortion Legality

Yes, abortion remains legal in California. However, the state does still place some restrictions on abortion access. This article provides an overview of California’s current laws, the context around them, and practical guidance for those considering abortion.

When Abortion is Legal in California

Before viability

Currently, abortion is legal at any point before fetal viability. Viability refers to the point when a fetus can likely survive outside the womb, which generally occurs around 24 weeks gestation.

After viability

After viability, abortion is only legal in cases when:

  • The life or health of the pregnant person is at risk
  • The fetus has a condition incompatible with life outside the womb

Getting an Abortion in California

If you’re under 18

In California, parental consent is not required for abortion if you are under 18. You can legally consent on your own.

Traveling out of state

You also have the right to travel outside California to access abortion services. Some states, like Oregon, have fewer restrictions.

Finding a provider

Use abortion provider search tools to find a clinic and schedule an appointment. Call the National Abortion Federation hotline at 1-800-772-9100 for help.

Getting financial assistance

Various nonprofit groups offer financial help for abortion care and related costs like travel and lodging. But you generally need to have an appointment scheduled first to apply for such assistance.

California Abortion Laws

No Waiting Period

California does not require any waiting period between counseling and the abortion procedure. You do not need to make multiple trips.

No Parental Consent Required

People under 18 can access abortion without involvement or notification of their parents in California.

Legal Until Viability

What viability means

“Viability” refers to the point in pregnancy when a fetus could likely survive outside the womb. This point varies, but is generally around 24 weeks gestation.

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Variation by provider

Keep in mind that most abortion providers set earlier limits on the gestational age of the pregnancies they will perform abortions on, often 14-22 weeks.

Exceptions after viability

After viability, exceptions are made only for grave risks to the pregnant person’s health or fetuses with severe anomalies.

Recent Changes and Current Context

Impact of Dobbs decision

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade does not directly affect California’s abortion rights. But it enables other states to impose bans, meaning more out-of-state patients may turn to California clinics.

Attempts to restrict abortion

Some anti-abortion California lawmakers continue introducing bills to restrict abortion access, but they are unlikely to pass given the legislature’s and governor’s strong support for abortion rights.

Public opinion in California

Nearly 70% of Californians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, one of the highest rates of support nationwide.

Practical Considerations

In-state vs out-of-state

Those in border communities may find easier access traveling to clinics in Oregon, Nevada or even Mexico given high demand at California clinics currently.


Without insurance, abortion costs range from $300-950 depending on the stage of pregnancy. Medication abortions are less expensive than procedural abortions.

Support resources

Various nonprofits offer practical support like transportation, lodging and childcare for low-income patients seeking abortion.

Clinic safety

California clinics take strict precautions to protect patient safety in the face of harassment and the threat of violence. Consider clinics options if safety is a top concern.

Emotional Considerations


Free abortion counseling is available from targeted support groups before and after the procedure. This can help with processing emotions.

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Common emotions

Complex feelings like grief, regret, guilt, relief and empowerment are all normal. Give yourself permission to feel a range of emotions.

Coping strategies

Practice self-care, connect with affirming communities, consider therapy for anxiety/depression triggered by the experience.

Spiritual Considerations

Religious views

While Catholic and Evangelical church doctrine officially condemns abortion, individuals hold a wide range of beliefs within all faith traditions.

Finding affirming spiritual support

Certain denominations like the Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ are officially pro-choice. Clergy counseling or faith-based therapists can also help reconcile spiritual views with abortion decisions or emotions.

Looking Ahead

Future legal battles

Opponents are still likely to introduce bills restricting abortion in California, but overturning core rights is unlikely given the political landscape. Continued civic engagement is key.

Continuing care and support needs

Advocates must work to meet the long-term physical, emotional and material needs of lower-income women struggling with the aftermath of securing wanted abortions.

Imagining a post-Roe California

As access disappears across much of the nation, California has a moral duty to envision itself as a sanctuary state for reproductive rights and develop the infrastructure to fulfill that vision in policy and practice.


Key Takeaways

  • Abortion remains legal in California until fetal viability, around 24 weeks generally
  • Minors can access abortion confidentially
  • Out-of-state travel is an option
  • Financial and practical support is available
  • Emotions around the decision are complex

Additional Resources

[Insert links to California abortion rights groups, clinic finders, abortion funding groups, etc]

Final Thoughts

The future of abortion access looks much different in California than many other states. While not immune from all limitations and political threats, core rights remain protected. Understanding what legal abortion looks like here can help those navigating this complex landscape make empowered choices that align with their health, values and circumstances.

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What are some good tips for coping with abortion emotionally?

Some constructive coping tips include: allowing yourself to fully feel and process any emotions that arise without judgment; engaging communities that affirm abortion experiences without stigma; considering counseling or support groups to help work through grief or regret; practicing regular self-care through activities like journaling, exercise, connecting with nature or arts, etc.

How far along can you be to get an abortion in California?

Abortion in California is legal until the point of fetal viability, which generally occurs around 24 weeks gestation, when a fetus might survive outside the womb. However, most abortion providers only offer abortion services up to 14-22 weeks gestation. A few may offer later services in rare exceptions. Always confirm gestational limits with your provider.

How much does an abortion cost in California?

Without health insurance coverage, you can expect to pay between $300-$950+ for an abortion in California, depending on factors like location, provider, and the stage of pregnancy. Medication abortions up to 10 weeks are at the lower end of that range, while later procedural abortions cost more on average.

What financial help is available for getting an abortion in California?

Various non-profit organizations like Access Reproductive Care Southeast, the National Network of Abortion Funds and regional abortion funds can provide funding to help low-income women cover all or part of abortion costs. Transportation, lodging and childcare assistance may also be available. You typically need to have an appointment scheduled to complete applications for such abortion financial assistance.

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