1967--Gov. Ronald Reagan signs the California Therapeutic Abortion Act in a compromise with legislative Democrats. The Republican governor says he is "fully sympathetic with attempts to liberalize the outdated abortion law" then in existence. He talks about the "humanitarian goals of the measure," saying "a liberalization of the abortion laws is necessary."
The law, still on the books, permits abortions in hospitals during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy if a committee of physicians finds the pregnancy will impair the life or health of the mother or if it results from rape or incest.
1972--The California Supreme Court under Chief Justice Donald R. Wright voids many of the restrictions of the abortion law on grounds of vagueness. Left intact is the requirement that abortions be performed in hospitals.
Reagan becomes disenchanted by what he considers a too-liberal implementation of the law. While he is governor, there are an estimated 750,000 abortions in California, one-third of them financed by the state's Medi-Cal health insurance program for the poor.