Reproductive Rights

Guide to Reproductive Rights in California

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

1. Abortion

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

Yes, up until the point where the fetus is “viable.” 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). Even after fetal viability, the government may not prohibit abortions “necessary to preserve the life or health” of the woman.1Roe v Wade

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.2AB 1264 (2019)

3. Other

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

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