History of Abortion

Abortion In California

In California, there are no restrictions on a woman's right to choose abortion, such as parental consent, age limits, waiting periods, etc.

Historically, in the late 1880s, the American government began restricting reproductive decisions, including birth control and safe abortion access.

When abortion was illegal, women were forced to travel to Mexico, Canada, or relied upon underground abortion providers. The quality of the care often depended upon the amount of money a person could pay.

To have the procedure done by their own doctor, women faked mental illness or harmed themselves. They couldn't outright ask for an abortion. Abortion was technically illegal, but restrictions began to loosen.

In the late 1960s, then Governor Ronald Reagan decriminalized abortion in California.

After abortion was nationally decriminalized in 1973, providers were still hard to come by.

Women's Health Specialists was founded in 1975, bringing abortion services to rural Northern California for the first time.

In 2014, a new bill was signed and passed into law that allows Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners and Physicians' Assistants to train and offer first trimester abortions. This helps people in rural and remote regions better access abortions.

In 2015, California passed the first state law in the nation requiring every provider of pregnancy related services must post information listing where to get free reproductive health services, including abortion. The law helps end delaying and deceiving practices of crisis pregnancy centers, centers who try to look like legitimate women's health clinics, but offer anti-abortion misinformation.

USA Recent History

There weren't regulations surrounding abortion, until the late 1880's. Abortion was effectively illegal from the late 1880's through 1973.

Abortion became legal in 1973 by the US the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court said that a woman’s right to privacy could not be violated by any state. Abortion could no longer be legislated by the states, with the exception of second trimester abortion.The court said that states could make laws regarding second trimester abortion, but only if these laws were designed to protect the woman’s life.

Since abortion became legalized, the abortion foes began strategies to outlaw abortion. They have tried through the courts and state legislatures to make abortion illegal and less accessible. Over the years they have attempted to impose parental notification, irrational licensing requirements for clinics, waiting periods, bans on second trimester abortions, imposing "counseling” requirements on abortion providers, and restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions.

In California, there are no restrictions on a woman's right to choose abortion, such as parental consent, age limits, waiting periods, etc.

Abortion opponents resorted to picketing clinics, harassing staff and patients, interfering with women’s ability to get into clinics, blockading clinic doors, clinic arson and vandalism, and even murder of physicians, clinic workers, and volunteer escorts. The right-wing of the anti-abortion movement was wise to the fact that if they couldn’t win on making abortion illegal, they could make it less accessible.

Against this backdrop of clinic violence, one of the most vicious and intended outcomes of anti-abortion terrorism has been to make women ashamed about having an abortion. Not only do women feel guilty, and stigmatized, but they are perceived as immoral for choosing an abortion. Abortion providers have been marginalized outside mainstream health care, their work is vilified, and they are called murderers and demons.

We remain steadfast against anti-abortion threats, and protect our clients and staff against violence through security measures and legal protections. We are committed to a woman’s right to freely choose abortion, and we have weathered the storm of protests.

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