Guide to Reproductive Rights in California

Positive pregnancy testAbortion laws vary significantly state to state. For abortion issues outside of California, please see our Guide to Reproductive Rights in the U.S.

Latest: The California legislature has voted to send a proposal to the voters for a constitutional amendment (to the state constitution) securing abortion and contraceptive rights. See details below.

1. Abortion

Is it legal for a woman to have an abortion in California?

Yes, up until the point where the fetus is “viable,” or after viability if the life or health of the mother is in danger. A fetus is legally considered viable when it is able to survive outside the womb, although this may require artificial aid; usually this means in the third trimester (or after 6 months or 24 weeks).

Viability and risks to the mother is to be determined by the judgment of a physician.

See the Guttmacher Institute for more on state abortion policies.

Would a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion change anything?

The California legislature has voted to send a proposal to the voters for a constitutional amendment (to the state constitution) securing abortion and contraceptive rights. As California law already protects abortion and contraceptive rights, an amendment to the state constitution would not change much, other than make it more difficult to remove reproductive rights in California in the future.

On the other hand, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting reproductive rights would significantly change the landscape across the country. However, this is highly unlikely to pass.

Is there a waiting period for an abortion in California?

No.

Does a minor need parental consent to have an abortion in California?

No.

Does my health insurance need to cover abortions?

Yes.

2. Contraception (Birth Control)

Does my health insurance need to cover contraceptives like birth control pills?

Health insurance must generally cover contraceptives for women, although employers with religious objections are exempt.

Do women need to see a doctor to get birth control pills?

Not necessarily. A new law simply requires filling out a questionnaire or self-screening tool.1AB 1264 (2019)

3. Other

See issues about sexually transmitted diseases and other topics related to sexuality at our Guide to Laws about Sex.

Related Pages

Guide to Reproductive Rights in the U.S.

References[+]

Share the Legal Info With Your Friends: