Parental Notification Measure Defeated on Special Election Ballot
California voters narrowly rejected Proposition 73 in Tuesday's special election, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/9).
Proposition 73 would have amended the state constitution to require health care providers to inform a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor. Under the measure, a girl could have sought a judicial bypass and would have received no-cost legal counsel, a confidential hearing and a ruling within three days on whether she could receive an abortion without notifying her parents (California Healthline, 11/7).
With 100% of precincts reporting, 47.4% of voters favored the proposition, while 52.6% voted against the measure, according to the California Secretary of State's Web site (California Secretary of State Web site, 11/9).
The measure was supported by the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups (Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/8). Parental notification advocates hoped the measure would reduce the state's teenage abortion rate by involving parents in the decision (Leff, AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11/9). In addition, proponents of the measure said it would promote teen safety (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 11/8).
Opponents of the measure, including Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups, said that the measure could lead to illegal abortions or result in teens leaving the state to get abortions. Opponents also noted that teen pregnancy rates in the state have declined over the past three decades (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/8).
Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said, "I think what this means is that California put the health and safety of teens first and that they respect women's constitutional rights."
Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), a supporter of the proposition, said that although the measure didn't pass Tuesday, similar reforms "will most certainly be passed on a future night" (Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 11/9).
Additional information on Proposition 73 is available online.