SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California officials are aiming to expand abortion access for out-of-state residents as states across the country are now free to implement stricter restrictions on the procedure.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, emboldening states to implement new abortion laws that restrict the procedure. As California lawmakers defend a woman’s right to choose, concerns linger over how accessible is the procedure.
California has the six-highest abortion rate per capita in the United States, following New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Florida, according to data from Guttmacher Institute.
All four regions of the country experienced an increase in the number of abortions between 2017 and 2020. The West saw the sharpest increase at 12%, followed by 10% in the Midwest, 8% in the South and 2% in the Northeast.
154,060 abortions occurred in California in 2020, representing 16.5% of all abortions in the country that same year. California averages 19.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, which stands higher than the nationwide average at 14.4.
While abortion rates in California have declined for decades, Guttmacher Institute reports a 16% increase from 2017-2020. However, in that time period, the rate of increase slowed to 3% from 2019 to 2020, due to the interruption that was the pandemic, according to experts.
In 2017, 40% of all California counties had no clinics that provided abortions. Although the 419 abortion facilities statewide in the same year marks a 6% increase in the amount of places that provide the procedure when compared to 2014. In contrast, 89% of all U.S. counties had no abortion-providing clinics.
With some states starting to amend their laws, officials expect the status quo will remain in California. Under California law, women can obtain an abortion until the 24th week or if the pregnancy poses a risk for the life of the mother.