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As Roe v. Wade turns 45, California leads nation in abortion access




WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22:  Pro-choice activists shout slogans before the annual March for Life passes by the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court  Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice activists shout slogans before the annual March for Life passes by the U.S. Supreme Court January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pro-life activists gathered in the nation's capital to mark the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade -- the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Here in California, women have greater access to providers than they do in other parts of the country.

Carol Sanger is a visiting law professor who specializes in reproductive rights at Harvard University and is author of the book, "About Abortion." She joined Take Two's A Martinez to explain.

Why California has a larger than average percentage of the country's abortion clinics

The answer is that states can add their own flourishes to the regulation of abortion, which is constitutional under a case that followed Roe, so many states burden it by putting all kinds of restrictions on women who want them, abortion providers and the facilities they perform them in, which all increase the cost of abortion and have run quite a few clinics out of business.

The main reasons California women are in a better situation with reproductive rights 

One is that there's public funding for abortions for poor women in California under MediCal. Another is that the laws in California are not so restrictive. We lose sight of what women in other states have to go through to get an abortion, and California doesn't have these really serious impediments like a waiting period.

Restrictions imposed by other states

Like waiting periods. You go to your doctor, you're pregnant, you really think this is the wrong decision to have a child right now. So you make an appointment with your doctor or a clinic, and when you go to the clinic, they say you have to come back in 24 hours, 48 hours, 96 hours, because we want you think about this harder. So a number of states burden it that way.