Abortion in California is safe and legal
And it’s a basic health care need for millions of people who can become pregnant. In fact, about 1 in 4 people with a uterus will have at least one abortion in their lifetime.
Right now, you can have an abortion for any reason in California until fetal viability, which is the stage of pregnancy when a fetus has developed enough that it is able to survive outside the uterus with extreme medical help. It usually happens around 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, but is determined by a physician on a case-by-case basis.
There are several ways to end a pregnancy, including in-clinic procedures and FDA-approved abortion pills which can be taken at home and have less than a 1% risk of complications. Factors like the gestational age of the fetus, your medical history, and your personal preferences will help determine which methods of abortion are best for your situation.
In pregnancies up to 10 weeks, medication abortion treatments can be completed at home through telehealth providers like Hey Jane. After completing our secure intake process online, you’ll be connected with one of our licensed medical providers. If they determine you’re eligible for treatment, you’ll receive your medication within a few days in discreet packaging, plus anti-nausea medication and ibuprofen to help with any side effects. You’ll continue to have access to our expert and compassionate clinical care team for medical and emotional support along the way.
What you need to know about California abortion laws
In 1967, California became the first state to legalize abortion, and since then, the state has continued to uphold the right to access safe and legal abortion services.
Most recently, California approved Prop 1 in November 2022, which explicitly added abortion and contraception rights to the state constitution.
California abortion laws are constantly evolving. Stay up to date on the latest.
How late can you get an abortion in California?
If your pregnancy is further along than that, you can get an elective in-clinic procedural abortion prior to fetal viability (typically about 24 -26 weeks).
Beyond that, abortion is only legal in California if the pregnant person’s life or health is at risk or if the fetus will not survive.
Who can get an abortion in California?
Anyone with a uterus can get an abortion in California until the pregnancy is viable (usually 24-26 weeks into a pregnancy).
It’s also legal for non-California residents to get an abortion in California within this timeframe. If you live in a state where you’re unable to get an abortion, you can travel to California to get the care that you need. And, as a California resident, it’s legal for you to get an abortion in other states that permit abortion.
College students, minors, and undocumented immigrants all have the right to get an abortion in California through these timeframes as well. Parental involvement is not required and if you're younger than 18, you can consent to an abortion without notifying a parent.
The abortion pill explained
The abortion pill is actually two medications taken separately—mifepristone and misoprostol. The first medication, mifepristone, blocks the pregnancy hormone (progesterone), which stops a pregnancy from growing.
Then, 24-48 hours later, the second medication, misoprostol, is taken. This medication causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus or womb.
For some, this treatment can feel like a heavy period, but for others, it can feel much more intense. Everyone's experience is different.
While the majority of abortions performed in the US are medication abortions, about 73% of adults don’t know about this option, and baseless lawsuits only serve to further confuse people. If you can, use our Un-whisper Network to spread the word— to your friends, your family, your community.
Medication abortions are safe and highly effective
Medication abortion is very safe. Complications from this treatment are very uncommon— they occur in less than 1% of patients. When used correctly, the medications work up to 99.6% of the time.
Getting a medication abortion does not lower your chances of getting or staying pregnant in the future; it does not cause infertility or cause birth defects in a future pregnancy. In fact, you can get pregnant almost immediately after having an abortion.
That’s not all:
- The abortion pill is safer than Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- The abortion pill is safer than Viagra (sildenafil)
How to get an abortion at home in California
Telehealth abortion care is a safe and private way to get an abortion from the comfort of your home.
Hey Jane is the leading provider of at-home abortion care in the US. We offer medication abortion care for people who are at least 18 years old and are up to 10 weeks pregnant.
At Hey Jane, we believe in providing private abortion care with holistic medical, emotional, and community support. We determine patient eligibility based on the gestational age of the pregnancy and the person’s medical history. To find out if you’re eligible, fill out our secure, online form.
If you’re eligible, our clinical care team will guide you through the process to receive FDA-approved abortion pills. Our fast turnaround times ensure the medications are delivered quickly to your door. We offer ongoing support from our clinical care team, 24/7 support for urgent medical needs, a peer-to-peer community forum, and helpful resources. We also provide financial assistance and accept patients regardless of immigration status.
What to expect after taking abortion medication
Medication #1: Mifepristone
Mifepristone blocks progesterone, the hormone that’s needed for a pregnancy to develop. Most people don’t experience any side effects and feel totally fine after taking this.
Medication #2: Misoprostol.
You can choose to take the pills in your vagina or in your cheeks for Step 2. Our treatment guide goes over how to take them both ways — choose the one you prefer. The medicine works equally well either way but can cause more nausea when taken in your cheeks.
If you decide to dissolve them in your cheeks, you can take them any time between 24-48 hrs after Step 1, as best fits your schedule. If you decide that vaginal misoprostol is a good fit for you, you can take them vaginally right after taking Step 1, or up until 72 hrs after Step 1. Please know that the pills don’t always completely dissolve in the vagina, and sometimes small pill pieces can remain in the vagina or even fall out - this is ok, it doesn’t mean the medication didn’t work. This is important to know if you need to go to a hospital or care provider after taking the medication and plan to keep the abortion confidential. There is no test a doctor/health care provider can do to tell if you’ve taken medication to end a pregnancy unless they see pill fragments or pieces in the vagina.
Misoprostol is the medication that causes uterine cramping and bleeding and the cervix to open, which helps to pass the pregnancy, similar to an early miscarriage. Heavy bleeding and cramping are expected within about 4-6 hours of taking the medication. Taking ibuprofen (or, for people who are allergic, Tylenol Extra-Strength) and anti-nausea medication 30 minutes before using misoprostol can help. Depending on how many weeks pregnant someone is, they may take an additional dose of misoprostol to ensure that treatment is successful. Hey Jane’s medical providers let patients know what would be best for them.
Having some of these items on hand can help you manage the symptoms during an abortion:
- 800 mg ibuprofen or Tylenol Extra-Strength (included for all Hey Jane patients)
- Hot water or heating pad
- Warm tea or soup
- Anti-nausea medication (Hey Jane patients also receive this)
- If you have access to a support person, than can also be very helpful
Ready to start? Consult with a Hey Jane provider now.
How to find an abortion clinic in California
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant, or prefer to get an abortion in-person, there are some factors to keep in mind when searching for the right abortion clinic.
- First, calculate how far along you are in your pregnancy. Some clinics only offer abortion procedures up until a certain gestational age, so you’ll want to call to confirm that you’re eligible before scheduling. You may also want to consider the cost of an abortion in California, which is different for medication versus procedural. INeedAnA.com is a great resource for finding abortion clinics.
- Beware of fake clinics! When searching for clinics online, use caution. You’ll want to avoid scheduling with a fake clinic, sometimes called a “crisis pregnancy center,” a type of organization that often appears clinical online and in-person, but are generally not medical clinics and are funded by anti-choice organizations aimed at preventing pregnant people from accessing abortion care. Horrible, we know. INeedAnA.com has a helpful search tool for locating real abortion clinics.
How much does an abortion in California cost
The cost of a medication abortion can vary depending on where you get it and whether or not you use insurance. The average national cost for a medication abortion at Planned Parenthood is $580, but it can be lower with insurance or through a virtual provider like Hey Jane.
Additionally, California Senate Bill 245 states that health insurance plans, including both private insurance and Medi-Cal, cannot require individuals to pay any additional out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance for abortion and abortion-related services.
The average national cost of an in-person surgical (or aspiration) abortion at Planned Parenthood during the first trimester is $600. During the second trimester, cost varies depending on gestational age. According to Planned Parenthood, abortions performed earlier in the second trimester are usually around $715 and can cost up to $2,000 later in the second trimester. However, private insurance or the state's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, should be able to lower or eliminate (depending on a person’s income) that cost.
The term ‘surgical’ abortion is a bit misleading, as the procedure is extremely safe and doesn’t actually involve surgery. The term ‘aspiration’ abortion is a more accurate description of the gentle suction involved. These in-clinic, procedural abortions are generally more expensive than medication abortions, but people choose aspiration vs. medication for all sorts of reasons that are entirely up to you
At Hey Jane, we offer income-based sliding scale pricing, accept select insurance providers, and partner with national and state-level abortion funds to help you access care.
How to get financial assistance
Cost should never prevent someone from getting an abortion that they need, which is why we offer different payment options. We use income-based sliding scale pricing, accept HSA/FSA cards, and partner with select insurance plans (with more plans coming soon).
We also partner with abortion funds that can provide support for eligible patients. Abortion funds can cover the full or partial cost of treatment. Learn more about abortion funds and how they might be able to help you get the care you need.
Passionate about abortion access? Take action with us and join the Un-Whisper Network.
Last updated 7/19/2023
What’s included with Hey Jane treatment?
Consultation with a medical provider
Abortion medications: Mifepristone and Misoprostol
Comfort medications: anti-nausea and ibuprofen
Step-by-step instruction guide
A clinical team just a text away
Private peer-to-peer community forum
Free shipping in discreet packaging