Are You a Legal Professional?

California Abortion Laws

Everyone has his or her own opinion on the debate over abortion. But where does the law stand? Here is a quick overview of abortion laws in California.

State Abortion Laws

California abortion laws are less restrictive than those in many other states, which often impose long waiting periods, consent requirements, strict facility codes, and other statutory obstacles. The Golden State allows nurse midwives and other non-physician medical professionals (with the proper training) to perform the procedure. But all state laws, including California’s, have some abortion restrictions. For instance, California requires unemancipated minors to seek parental consent before getting an abortion.

California Statutes

The table below lists the basic provisions of California abortion laws.

Code Section

Health & Safety §§123460 et seq., 123450

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

Performed by an unauthorized person

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion

Any medical treatment intended to induce the termination of a pregnancy except for the purpose of producing a live birth

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

In case of unemancipated minor: misdemeanor, fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in county jail up to 30 days

Consent Requirements

In case of unemancipated minor, written consent of minor and one parent or legal guardian, or by order of petition to Juvenile Court or in a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention

Residency Requirements for Patients

-

Physician Licensing Requirements

Approved hospital and unanimous approval of medical committee of hospital (unless the health of mother impaired or rape or incest); certified physician/surgeons; nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and physicians' assistants who complete specified training.

Abortion laws are constantly changing, especially as more time passes since the biggest abortion case, Roe v. Wade, was decided. Ever since then, abortion in the United States has been legal, and women have a right to choose whether to have an abortion during the early stages of her pregnancy. However, states are allowed to regulate certain aspects of abortion after the first trimester, such as imposing counseling, waiting periods, and other requirements. During the third trimester there is generally little or no legal way to have an abortion (unless your life is in danger).

California Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Navigating the emotional and legal ramifications of abortion is never easy. If you’d like to do more of your own research, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on abortion, birth control, and health care law. If you feel that you need legal advice, or just want to know your rights and responsibilities, you can consult with a health care attorney in California.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)