Abortion Access

Abortion Access

Planned Parenthood works to protect every woman’s right to make her own decisions about childbearing, and access to services plays a critical part.

Even in California, women experience barriers to care when seeking abortion services. More than half of the counties in California do not have an accessible abortion provider1. Without access to an abortion provider in her community, a woman must travel a significant distance to receive comprehensive reproductive health care.

Planned Parenthood and other important coalition partners such as ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, work every day to improve access to reproductive health care services in California.

Challenges to Abortion Access

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973—which guaranteed a woman’s right to abortion–organizations seeking to overturn Roe and outlaw abortion continuously work to erode access to reproductive health care. These opponents of women’s health attempt to make the complex, personal decision to end a pregnancy more difficult, and even dangerous.

Examples of these restrictions include:

  • Abortion Bans: In 2007 the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Abortion Ban which criminalizes safe, medically appropriate abortion procedures without an exception to protect woman’s health. This is a serious setback for women’s health and safety. This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make important health care decisions for them.
  • Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP): Many states impose a variety of burdensome requirements on abortion providers that are not imposed on providers of other types of health care. These requirements may include additional licensing, restrictions on the qualified personnel that may provide abortion services, and mandating unnecessary procedures/protocols.
  • Parental Notice/Consent Requirements: While most teens involve their parents in their health care decisions, there are times when a teen simply can’t tell a parent she’s pregnant. She may fear violence or being kicked out of her home. However 37 states have dangerous laws that force doctors, no matter what the circumstance, to notify or obtain the consent of a parent when a teen seeks abortion care. Of course, all parents want to be involved in their teen’s lives but good family communications cannot be mandated.. All young women should have access to safe, professional medical care and counseling without delay. Learn more about teen safety.


1. Guttmacher Institute for HWPP #171, Special Analysis 2011