Know the Facts: Abortion in California

Abortion in California

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Is Abortion Legal in California?

  • Abortions are legal in California until the 24th week of pregnancy.
  • All abortions must be administered by medical providers.
  • The abortion pill can be used until the 10th week of pregnancy (LMP).

This page addresses abortion questions such as:

⚖️ Wondering whether to get an abortion? Take the Abortion Test.

Can You Get an Abortion in California?

  • Abortion is legal in California until viability, i.e., until the fetus can survive outside the womb. Any fetus older than 24 weeks LMP (counting from first day of the last menstrual period) is considered viable.
  • Only medical providers may perform abortions in California. Since 2023, not only doctors but also nurse practitioners, nurses, and midwives may provide abortions in this state.
  • In California, telehealth abortion providers either send the abortion pill by mail or write a prescription for pick-up at select Walgreens pharmacies.
  • No further extensions are given in cases of rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis when the continuation of the pregnancy puts the mother's health at risk. Abortions are always permitted to save the mother's life.
  • No parental consent is needed for minors in California.

ℹ️ For more information, go to Is Abortion Legal?

How Late Can You Get an Abortion in California?

While abortion is legal in California until viability (i.e., until the fetus can survive outside the womb; around 24 weeks) abortions after the first trimester may not be widely available.
Many abortion clinics only offer the abortion pill and vacuum extractions, which are exclusively used in the first trimester.

  • The abortion pill can be used until the 10th week of pregnancy (LMP). This time-window is federally mandated for all US states because the risk of complications increases exponentially if used beyond this point.
  • Vacuum aspiration is the primary surgical abortion method used until the 16th week of pregnancy.
  • 98% of abortions after 16 weeks gestation are performed by dilation and evacuation (D&E). At this point, the fetus has become too large to be suctioned out and would have to be extracted by forceps.

📅 Unsure how far along you are? Use our Pregnancy Tracker to find out! 

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Is Abortion Illegal in California?

Performing or seeking an abortion is illegal in California outside of the legal parameters.

Self-inducing an abortion without the aid of a medical provider is illegal in California. This law was established with the health of women in mind. Most homemade abortion methods carry higher risks, making them unsafe. The concern for the safety of the mother is of the highest priority.

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I Need an Abortion in California — Now What?

Hopefully, our page addressed some of your practical questions about abortion in California. Perhaps your concerns go beyond the need for information. You may have recently found out you are pregnant, bringing your heart to a standstill while your mind races on.

We are here for you as you navigate your next steps! If you are deliberating whether to have an abortion, you are invited to participate in our weeklong  Decision Coaching Sessions. This includes a free daily email for seven days, with thought-provoking ideas and stories of how other pregnant women have dealt with this challenging situation.

👉 Click here for more information and prompts for signing up!

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