Your Abortion Rights

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Abortion is legal in California, both for teens and adults. You have the right to get an abortion for any reason until approximately 6 months after you become pregnant. After that, if the pregnancy puts your health or life at risk you can still get an abortion. For more information, call ACCESS at 1-800-376-4636.

How can I pay for an abortion?

Most private health insurance plans cover abortion care. Check with your insurance provider to see how much you are covered. California also has free or low-cost programs that can help you pay for an abortion if you need it. Minor Consent Medi-Cal, in particular, is a good option for young people to ensure confidential access.

Do I need a parent, guardian, or partner’s permission to get an abortion?

No. You do not need anyone’s permission, and the law protects your privacy. No one else has the right to know or do anything about it – not your parents, not your boyfriend or partner, not your husband. Even if you are married or under 18, the decision is up to you.

You deserve support from someone who cares about you, like a parent, counselor, or friend. In many parts of California there are abortion doulas, or volunteers, who can go with you to you appointment so you don’t have to go alone. To be linked with a volunteer, call ACCESS at 1-800-376-4636.

Where can I get an abortion?

You can get an abortion at many family planning clinics and some doctor’s offices. In California, specially-trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants are allowed to perform early abortions, in addition to doctors.

There are two types of abortion: medication abortion and in-clinic abortion. Medication abortion involves taking two medicines that end a pregnancy and is generally an option until about 9 weeks of pregnancy. Medication abortions are initiated at doctors’ offices or clinics. You can learn more about medication abortion here. The most common in-clinic abortion procedure is called aspiration, which is usually used up to 16 weeks after a person’s last period. D&E (dilation and evacuation) is another kind of in-clinic abortion, which is usually performed later than 16 weeks after a person’s last period. You can learn more about in-clinic abortions hereFor more information, call ACCESS at 1-800-376-4636.

Even though abortions are legal, medical providers do not have to offer them. For example, some hospitals and clinics that are owned by churches refuse to do abortions. If someone at a clinic or doctor’s office tells you that you cannot get an abortion, make sure they’re telling you the truth. Get another opinion by calling the ACLU at 415-621-2488 or ACCESS at 1-800-376-4636; you can visit www.accesswhj.org for more resources.

Warning: Not all clinics are alike

Some clinics pretend to offer comprehensive family planning services but will not tell you about all of your options. They call themselves “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” or “Pregnancy Resource Centers” but sometimes they use other names. Some of them give misleading information to try to prevent you from having an abortion. See www.accesswhj.org to find clinics that will tell you the whole truth and give you all of your options.

If you feel you are being lied to or coerced, you are entitled to leave a clinic or center at any time. They cannot force you to stay against your will. If you believe you are in a clinic that is not giving you full information, you have every right to leave and to access services elsewhere.