Abortion care in San Francisco

Abortion remains safe and legal in California, whether or not you live in the state. There are many options in San Francisco for ending a pregnancy.

About abortion

Abortion is a safe health care option that any pregnant person may choose to end a pregnancy. Each person’s decision is personal. Timing is important when deciding to have an abortion. Earlier in pregnancy, there are more options about types of abortions and more clinics to choose from. 

There are two main types of abortion: 

  • Medication abortion involves taking medications to end the pregnancy. It most often is done within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. People should consult a health care provider to confirm that medication abortion is an option. There may be options to receive the medicine by mail to be taken at home.  

  • Procedural abortion occurs in a clinic or hospital. People should plan for one or two clinic visits, depending on how far along the pregnancy is.  

Getting an Abortion

There are many options in San Francisco for ending a pregnancy in the hospital, primary care offices, and community clinics. Providers may prescribe abortion pills, consultation and other services over the phone, or in-clinic procedures. A list of abortion providers in San Francisco and other parts of California is provided at: abortion.ca.gov. All abortion providers in California must provide translation services.

Travel to San Francisco

You can receive an abortion in San Francisco if you reside in another county in California, or in another state. 

Beware of Fake Clinics

Some organizations may offer free or low-cost pregnancy resources but are actually trying to stop people from getting abortions. Sometimes they are called “crisis pregnancy centers.” They may not be licensed medical clinics. Be on the lookout and avoid websites or facilities that appear to give out misleading information about abortions and pregnant people, and call ahead to ask if they provide abortion services or referrals. A reputable clinic will be upfront about their services. More information about how to spot a fake clinic can be found at Planned Parenthood. If you believe you have been the victim or target of deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unlawful conduct by a clinic, please contact the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office at cityattorney@sfcityattorney.org.

Know Your Rights

Some states have restricted access to abortions. In California, a person who is pregnant has a legal right to choose an abortion before viability (when a fetus could survive outside the uterus), or at any time to protect their health or life.  

California law also guarantees the right to privacy. A person can choose an abortion, or they can choose to continue a pregnancy without anyone else’s consent. This right to choose includes people under the age of 18, who don’t need the consent of a parent or guardian to get an abortion. People who are immigrants, regardless of immigration status, also may receive an abortion in California. Personal information must be protected. More information on legal rights to an abortion in California can be found here.  

San Francisco stands behind the rights of people who are pregnant to make the best personal and health choices for themselves. Free legal services are available through the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights (LARR) to assist people who face legal challenges associated with abortions, including patients and health providers in other states. People in need of assistance can contact LARR@sfbar.org or 415-875-7076. 

Paying for an Abortion

There are options for covering the cost of an abortion. In California, Medi-Cal and most private insurance plans cover abortions. Usually, you do not need prior authorization from your health provider. People traveling from out of state should check first if their private health insurance or Medicaid covers out-of-network reproductive health care.  

Support is available for people who need help covering costs – including people traveling from out of state – and people with limited or no insurance. California offers temporary Medi-Cal coverage for abortions at the Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women Program. Check with an abortion provider as they may also offer free or discounted services or payment plans or connect you to financial assistance.  

Abortion costs may also include lodging, meals, childcare, transportation, and more. Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project has a list of organizations that fund abortion-related costs. The National Network of Abortion Funds is another resource. ACCESS Reproductive Health runs a bilingual Spanish and English health line for people to call with questions about how to access resources in California.  

Emotional Health and Wellness

Emotional health is also an important consideration when planning for an abortion. Like other major life events, an abortion may bring up a range of emotions, including anger, grief, and relief. These feelings are normal, even though they can be difficult. Empathetic friends and family can provide support. There are counseling options too. All-Options Talkline offers unconditional, judgment-free support for people in all of their decisions, feelings, and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. 

Disclaimer: This website is for information only. It does not provide legal or medical advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

Last updated December 14, 2022