How much Does An Abortion Cost in California?
The average cost of abortion in California (for residents or travelers to the state to get an abortion) ranges from $300 to over $3,050.
Factors Impacting the Cost of Abortion in California
Given such a huge price range, it is obvious that there are many factors affecting abortion. More importantly, all the factors are interrelated — implying that one element influences the other, making the total expense even more variable.
These factors include:
The Stage of your Pregnancy
One of the leading factors determining the cost of abortion are how farther along you’re in your pregnancy. The earlier the pregnancy stage, the more economical an abortion will be. But as the pregnancy advances, prices escalate. Abortions performed in the first trimester (i.e., within 12 weeks or first three months) are likely less expensive and have a lower risk of complications than late trimester abortions. A first-trimester abortion costs about $750 whereas the value rises to nearly $1,500 and is even greater later in pregnancy.
Second-trimester abortions require more time (over two to three days) and, therefore, additional expenses. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion at 20 weeks’ gestation costs more than twice as much as a 10-week-abortion.
The Type of Abortion
The prices also differ for the two kinds of abortion: medical vs surgical.
Cost of Medical Abortion/Abortion Pill
- The average cost of medical abortion in CA: $700
- Medical abortion (up to 10th week of pregnancy) with insurance: around $250 to $800 (≈$700)
- Medical abortion without insurance: about $1000
Cost of Surgical Abortion
- The average cost of surgical abortion in CA: $950
- Suction aspiration/vacuum abortion (6-14 weeks gestation): $500-$1500
- Dilation and Curettage (13-16 weeks gestation): $850-$1600
- Dilation and Evacuation (15 weeks and beyond but before any signs of fetal viability*): $1500 to over $3000
* Fetal viability is defined by California law as the point in the pregnancy when in the good-faith medical judgment of a physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s survival outside the uterus without the use of extraordinary medical measures. Cal. Health & Safety Code §123464(d).
A medical abortion, in which doctors use pills to end a pregnancy, costs California women without insurance an average of $700 out of pocket. This option is available only up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. After this period, the only way to end a pregnancy is surgical abortion, the price for which can range from $500 to over $3000 without insurance. The cost of sedation and medications needed during surgery alone comes down to around $360. A 2012 cost analysis of surgical versus medical abortion showed an inflated cost of $336 for the former procedure.
These rates are highly variable. The final amount may often come out to be much lower or higher based on other determinants of the abortion’s cost.
Moreover, in certain instances, surgical abortion can be both more useful and economical than medical abortion, such as when:
a) surgical abortion is done in an office clinic (under local anesthesia)
b) medical abortion requires more visits, adding up to the total charges
c) the chances of success of medical abortion are slim
Whether or not you have a Health Insurance
In California, both Medi-Cal and private health insurance plans are available to cover all abortions. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid health plan that delivers health coverage to low-income families, including women in need of an abortion. If you qualify for Medi-Cal, your out-of-pocket expenses may be none or minimal. However, if you’re not eligible for Medi-Cal or have private medical insurance for abortion, you may be required to pay more out-of-pocket.
The Facility that You’re Using to Get an Abortion
The cost of an abortion will also fluctuate with the type of facility used for abortion — i.e., clinic, hospital, or private practice. Hospitals tend to be the costliest. Additionally, abortion-related procedures in hospitals lead to prolonged hospital stays, further adding to the cost.
1. Can I get financial assistance for abortion care in California?
Women from low-income families who do not have insurance but are still seeking abortion in California can get financial assistance through several means.
The ACCESS Reproductive Justice is a Californian organization that helps link women who need reproductive health care — including an abortion — to affordable plans like Media-Cal. Apart from compensating women residing in California, these plans are also accessible for women traveling to California and even those leaving California to another state for an abortion. The Justice in Action Fund may also help offset (or even cover) the abortion expenses in selective cases.
Those without insurance may also qualify for a program called California’s Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PE4PW) Program. This program grants Qualified Providers to provide Medi-Cal coverage to low-income resident females of California. It enables providers to bill for the services required without accruing any fees to patients.
You can find further information on financial assistance for abortion on The National Network of Abortion Funds. This association helps you find funding resources as well as gives you tips for accessing financial assistance for abortion.
2. What about Planned Parenthood? Are abortions free at Planned Parenthood?
This organization provides abortion services to low-income women at relatively lower cost.
3. Does Medicare cover abortion in California?
No, Medicare does not cover abortion except when the procedure is medically critical, saving the mother’s life, or in situations where conception is due to rape or incest.
4. Can my private insurance provider limit coverage for abortion?
No. According to the California law, private insurance providers do not have the right to refuse abortion as it is considered essential healthcare. Hence, they ought to cover abortion care.
5. Is California’s Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women (PE4PW) Program available to California non-residents also?”
No, if you’re not a California resident, you do not qualify for PE4PW Program. This program is only designed for low-income pregnant California residents who do not have the State’s health insurance coverage.
6. What if I am not a California resident? Can I still access abortion services in California?
Yes. California does not have any residency requirements to access an abortion. If abortion is banned in your home state, or if you opt to have an abortion in California, you can still access abortion by traveling to California.