The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Also Limits Right to Abortion

Aug 15, 2022

Governor Gavin Newsom and his fellow California Democrats have declared California an “abortion sanctuary” and announced additional funding and legislation to make abortions more accessible. But as some women have already discovered, California does not acknowledge every woman’s right to an abortion. California law actually forbids late-term abortions, even if doctors determine that the fetus will be born carrying severe physical impairments.

This is what Christina, a Californian who did not want to disclose her last name, found out. During the 27th week of her pregnancy, doctors told her that the brain of her fetus had not been developing properly. If born, Christina’s child would have a very painful and very short life. Christina decided to have an abortion instead—a difficult decision which, Christina said, she made for the sake of her baby.

That’s when Christina found out that very few doctors in California would perform this abortion. The state law says that it is illegal to perform an abortion if the fetus is viable, unless the patient’s life or health is at risk. “Viable” is defined vaguely, as “able to live outside the womb without intensive medical intervention.” Faced with the possibility of criminal charges, doctors usually will not even consider an abortion after 24 weeks so they are on the safe side of the law.

Under time pressure, Christina ended up going to Colorado to get an expensive abortion—one of the six states (plus the District of Columbia) that don’t have a limit as to at what time during pregnancy an abortion is legal. In fact, there are only six clinics in the U.S. that perform abortions after 26 weeks, according to Access Reproductive Justice.

There are no statistics kept on how many women who live in California are forced to leave the state to get an abortion, but Christina’s story is certainly not unique.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, nine states have already eliminated access to abortions. That will likely push more pregnancies into a late stage, before women can get an abortion—at which point more women in the U.S. may find out that California is not necessarily the abortion haven California politicians want women to believe, even if they have the means to travel to California.