Abortion in California
is safe and legal
While sometimes a touchy topic, abortion is a normal, common, and important part of healthcare...." 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. In California, you can have an abortion for any reason until viability, which usually happens around 24-26 weeks into a pregnancy. After that, an abortion may only be performed if it’s medically necessary and threatens the pregnant person’s life. There are several ways to end a pregnancy, including in-clinic procedures and FDA-approved abortion pills which can be taken at home. 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.
Medication abortions are safe and effective
The majority of abortions in the US are performed with medication, commonly referred to as “the abortion pill”. The abortion pill is actually two medications—mifepristone and misoprostol—and the process of having a medication abortion is simple. 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. You can expect period-like cramping and bleeding like a heavy period as the pregnancy passes.
In pregnancies up to 10 weeks, medication abortion treatments can be completed at home through telehealth providers like Hey Jane, a recommended virtual clinic on the California government website. After completing our secure intake process online, one of our licensed medical providers will reach out if 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 also 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
California state law protects the right to personal reproductive decisions, which is especially important since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June 2022, giving states the power to determine access to reproductive care. 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.
Right now, abortion is legal in California until "viability," which is the stage of pregnancy when a fetus has developed enough that it is able to survive outside the uterus with medical help. It usually happens around 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy.
Laws are constantly evolving. Stay up to date on the latest.
How late can you get an abortion in California?
You can be prescribed the abortion pill, a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, up to 10 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period. If your pregnancy is further along than that, you can get an in-clinic procedural abortion up to 6 months (about 24 -26 weeks). Beyond that, abortion is only legal in California to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.
While you may be eligible for a medication abortion with Hey Jane up to 10 weeks, that does not mean you have to wait that long to get an abortion. You can get abortion care as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Start the Hey Jane intake process here.
Who can get an abortion in California?
Anyone with a uterus can get an abortion in California until the pregnancy is viable, which is usually around 24-26 weeks.
It’s also legal for non-California residents to get an abortion in California. And, as a California resident, it’s legal for you to get an abortion out of state.
College students, minors, and undocumented immigrants all have the right to get an abortion in California as well. Parental involvement is not required and if you're younger than 18, you can consent to an abortion without notifying a parent.
There are a few exceptions that may allow you to get an abortion in California after viability.
- To save the pregnant person's life
- To preserve the pregnant person's general health (can include mental health)
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 over 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, a member of 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 urgent medical assistance, a peer-to-peer community forum, and helpful resources. We also provide financial assistance and accept patients regardless of immigration status. Click here to learn more about abortion care with Hey Jane. Feel free to contact us for inquiries or support.
California's laws recognize the importance of expanding access to reproductive health care, including abortion services, through the use of innovative technologies like telemedicine, while ensuring that patients are fully informed and empowered to make health care decisions that are right for them.
The abortion pill explained
A medication abortion, or the abortion pill, is a non-invasive way to end an early pregnancy. It involves taking medication in the form of two pills—mifepristone and misoprostol, or just misoprostol on its own. While the majority of abortions performed in the US are medication abortions, only 1 in 3 people know about this option—and baseless lawsuits serve to further confuse people. Use your platform to spread the word—to your friends, your family, your community.
How safe is it?
Medication abortion is very safe. Complications occur in less than 0.4% of people and in less than 1% of people for in-clinic procedural abortions.
- Abortion does not lower your chances of getting or staying pregnant in the future. Abortion 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 has a lower adverse reaction rate than Tylenol.
- The abortion pill has a lower adverse reaction rate than Viagra.
Despite myths that say otherwise, having an abortion does not increase your risk for breast cancer and does not cause depression.
How it works
The first medicine you take is mifepristone, which blocks the pregnancy hormone (progesterone) and stops the pregnancy from growing. Then, 24-48 hours later you take a second medication, called misoprostol. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus.
Mifepristone was first developed in the 1980s by a French pharmaceutical company as a treatment for hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). However, during clinical trials, it was found to have the potential to terminate early pregnancies. Further research and clinical trials were conducted to investigate its use as an abortion medication, and in 2000, the FDA approved mifepristone for use in combination with misoprostol for medication abortions up to 10 weeks gestation.
Misoprostol was first approved by the FDA in 1988 for the prevention of gastric ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, like mifepristone, it was found to have other uses, including the induction of labor and medication abortion. The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 for use in combination with misoprostol for medication abortion. The FDA approved mailing abortion pills in 2021.
What to expect:
Medication #1: Mifepristone
This is the medication that blocks progesterone, the hormone that’s needed for a pregnancy to develop. Most people don’t experience any symptoms and feel totally fine after taking this.
Medication #2: Misoprostol.
Four misoprostol pills are taken 24-48 hours after the mifepristone.
These are either placed inside the vagina, between the cheek of your mouth and your gums, or under your tongue for 30 minutes. Misoprostol is the medication that causes cramping and bleeding, 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 manage symptoms after taking abortion pills:
- 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)
Ready to start? Consult with a Hey Jane provider now.
If you have remaining questions, check out our resources for support, as well as our FAQs for answers to common questions.
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 average out-of-pocket medication abortion in California costs $737*, but can be much lower with insurance or through a virtual provider like Hey Jane. During a medication abortion, a pregnant person will have a consultation with a provider (either in-clinic or via telemedicine) who determines your eligibility, and then prescribes two medications—mifepristone and misoprostol.
In California, the average cost of a surgical (or aspiration) abortion is $940* (without insurance) and varies significantly based on the gestational age of the pregnancy. 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 in some cases may be the best option for the patient.
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, that’s why Hey Jane offers different payment options. At Hey Jane, we offer 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.
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