They call California the "Golden State," and reproductive rights advocates may argue California has struck gold in terms of enacting what people on both sides of the issue agree are some of the nation's least-restrictive abortion laws.
In 1967, California implemented a law allowing abortions when a physician determined a pregnancy endangered the mother’s physical or mental health, according to Real Clear Politics
. The U.S. Supreme Court six years later issued the Roe v. Wade decision, which gave women nationwide the right to an abortion and left state lawmakers to decide how strictly to regulate the procedure.
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California legislators went on to amend the state's abortion laws in a manner that left it ranked as the nation's best state for reproductive rights in 2013 by NARAL Pro-Choice America
. That organization chose only California and second-ranked Washington to receive grades of “A+” for their laws regarding reproductive rights.
The pro-life group Americans United for Life in January named California
as the nation’s fourth least-protective state in terms of enacting pro-life legislation. AUL had ranked California as second least-protective in each year from 2010 through 2014, and as least protective in 2009.
Reasons AUL gave for California's ranking included that:
Parental notification or consent isn't required for a minor to have an abortion there.
Surgical abortions may be performed or abortion-inducing drugs administered in California by some non-physicians, including nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and certified nurse-midwives.
California has a “Freedom of Choice Act” providing the right to an abortion even if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
California’s Supreme Court has concluded the state constitution provides a broader right to abortion than the U.S. Constitution does.
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The California Supreme Court has mandated the state finance “medically necessary” abortions for women eligible for state medical assistance.
California also allows partial-birth abortions, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute
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