How Late Can You Have an Abortion in California?

Facing an unexpected pregnancy can be painful and complicated. You might feel shocked, panicked, or scared — more than likely, you feel all three of these emotions at once. An unplanned pregnancy may cause you to make life-changing decisions during a time when you don’t feel like yourself.

What Are Your Options?

You might know for sure what you want to do. Or perhaps you’re not sure what to do about your unexpected pregnancy. Either way, it’s critical to thoroughly examine all your options with a skilled advocate, so you feel empowered and equipped to make an informed decision. You have three options, including:
  1. Continue your pregnancy and parent your child
  2. Continue your pregnancy and choose adoption
  3. Have an abortion
There is much to consider for each of these three possibilities, and there are compassionate professionals to answer your questions and help you access support resources.

How Late Can You Have an Abortion in California?

As you examine abortion as an option, you might be wondering how late you can have an abortion in California. Abortion laws in California give women the right to end their pregnancies up until the fetus is deemed viable [1]. Viable means the fetus is likely to survive outside of the uterus. A fetus is typically considered viable between 24-28 weeks after the first day of your last period and weighs 500 grams or the equivalent of 1.1 pounds. If you’re under the age of 18, California laws require that you give written consent to an abortion, and you have written permission for an abortion from one of your parents or guardians.

Risks of Later Abortion

A later abortion is one that a woman has in her second or third trimester of pregnancy [2]. If you are further along in your pregnancy and considering abortion, be sure to examine the physical and emotional side effects as well as potential risks of a later abortion.

Why Women Have Late Abortions

The Guttmacher Institute reports that the reasons women choose abortion include: childbearing would interfere with their education, work, and ability to care for existing children; it would be a financial burden; it would disrupt partner relationships. These are all valid concerns. So why do women have late abortions? You may have heard that women have late abortions because their health is at risk, but research has determined that’s not necessarily the case [3]. According to a 2013 study of women who had abortions after 20 weeks, there are five primary reasons women choose later abortions [4]. Those reasons include women who were:
  • Raising children alone
  • Battling depression or using illicit drugs
  • In conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence
  • Had trouble deciding and then couldn’t find abortion providers
  • Young and hadn’t given birth before
These concerns causing women to choose abortion resonate with the women we serve at Pregnancy Care Clinic; they are legitimate, and we understand. Our licensed medical professionals can help you work through your concerns compassionately and without bias or judgment. There is never a fee for our services.  Contact us today for your confidential appointment.   [1] California Legislative Information. (2014, January 1). ARTICLE 2.5. Reproductive Privacy Act [123460 - 123468]. Retrieved on August 23, 2020 from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=HSC&division=106.&title=&part=2.&chapter=2.&article=2.5. [2] Pietrangelo, Ann. (2018, January 17). Later-Term Abortion: What to Expect. Retrieved on August 24, 2020 from  https://www.healthline.com/health/late-term-abortion [3] Studnicki J. (2019). Late-Term Abortion and Medical Necessity: A Failure of Science. Health services research and managerial epidemiology, 6, 2333392819841781. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333392819841781 [4] Foster, D.G. and Kimport, K. (2013), Who Seeks Abortions at or After 20 Weeks?. Perspect Sex Repro H, 45: 210-218. doi:10.1363/4521013