California Proposition 73, Parental Notification for Minor's Abortion (2005)

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California Proposition 73 was on the November 8, 2005 special statewide ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

Proposition 73 would have established a mandatory waiting period and parental notification before a minor could obtain an abortion. Similar propositions (Proposition 85 on the 2006 ballot and Proposition 4 on the 2008 ballot) were tried in later years, and also lost.

Election results

Proposition 73
Result Votes Percentage
Defeatedd No 4,023,840 52.7%
Yes 3,610,475 47.3%
Total votes 7,634,315 100.00%
Voter turnout Of registered voters: 50.1%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 73 had been approved, it would have added a new Section 32 to Article I of the California Constitution.

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.


Map showing county distribution of Proposition 73 votes

The question on the ballot was:

"Should the California Constitution be amended to require notification of the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated, pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on the minor?"


The official summary said:

  • Amends California Constitution, prohibiting abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor's parent/legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with parental waiver.
  • Defines abortion as causing "death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born."
  • Permits minor to obtain court order waiving notice based on clear, convincing evidence of minor's maturity or best interests.
  • Mandates various reporting requirements.
  • Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation.
  • Requires minor's consent to abortion, with certain exceptions.
  • Permits judicial relief if minor's consent coerced.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • "Potential unknown net state costs of several million dollars annually for health and social services programs, the courts, and state administration combined."



Website banner from the Yes on Proposition 73 (archived) website

The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 73 were signed by:

  • William P. Clark, who served on the California Supreme Court from 1973–1981
  • Mary L. Davenport, M.D., Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Maria Guadalupe Garcia, an organizing director of the Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection/YES ON 73 campaign committee
  • Prof. Teresa Stanton Collett, J.D.
  • Jane E. Anderson, M.D., FAAP, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
  • Katherine R. Dowling, M.D., FAAP, FAAFP, Associate Professor Emeritus, Family Medicine University of Southern California, School of Medicine[1]

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Proposition 73 made these arguments in its favor in the state's official voter guide:

  • "In California, a daughter under 18 can’t get an aspirin from the school nurse, get a flu shot, or have a tooth pulled without a parent knowing. However, surgical or chemical abortions can be secretly performed on minor girls—even 13 years old or younger—without parents’ knowledge. Parents are then not prepared to help young daughters with any of the serious physical, emotional, or psychological complications which may result from an abortion or to protect their daughters from further sexual exploitation and pregnancies."
  • "A study of over 46,000 pregnancies of school-age girls in California found that over two-thirds were impregnated by adult men whose mean age was 22.6 years."
  • "Investigations have shown that secret abortions on minors in California are rarely reported to child protective services although these pregnancies are evidence of statutory rape and sexual abuse. This leaves these girls vulnerable to further sexual abuse, rapes, pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases."
  • "Parents and daughters in more than 30 other states have benefited for years from laws like Prop. 73. Many times, after such laws pass, there have been substantial reductions in pregnancies and abortions among minors."
  • "When parents are involved and minors cannot anticipate secret access to free abortions they more often avoid the reckless behavior which leads to pregnancies. Older men, including Internet predators, are deterred from impregnating minors when secret abortions are not available to conceal their crimes."[1]


Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $2,594,531
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $5,637,252

$2,594,531 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 73, through four different campaign committees. The largest committee, "Life on the Ballot", spent $2.18 million.[2]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
James Holman $1,356,398
Don Sebastiani $350,000
Tom Monaghan $250,000
California Republican Party $123,069
Fieldstad & Co. $115,900


Website banner from the No on Proposition 73 (archived) website


The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 73 were signed by:

  • Robert L. Black, M.D., FAAP, Officer of the Board, American Academy of Pediatrics, California District
  • Ruth E. Haskins, M.D., Chair, Committee on Legislation, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX California
  • Deborah Burger, RN, President, California Nurses Association
  • Kathy Kneer, CEO, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
  • A. Eric Ramos, M.D., President, California Academy of Family Physicians[1]

Arguments against

The arguments presented in the official voter guide opposing Proposition 73 were:

  • "Good family communication can't be imposed by government."
  • "Parents care most about keeping their children safe. That means always safe, even if they feel they can’t come to us and tell us everything."
  • "Family communication must begin long before a teen faces an unplanned pregnancy. The best way to protect our daughters is to begin talking about responsible, appropriate sexual behavior from the time they are young and fostering an atmosphere that assures them they can come to us."
  • "Even teenagers who have good relationships with their parents might be afraid to talk to them about something as sensitive as pregnancy."
  • "Some teens live in troubled homes. The family might be having serious problems, or parents might be abusive, or a relative may even have caused the pregnancy. THIS LAW PUTS THOSE VULNERABLE TEENAGERS—THOSE WHO MOST NEED PROTECTION—IN HARM’S WAY, OR FORCES THEM TO GO TO COURT. Think about it: the girl is already terrified, she’s pregnant, her family is abusive or worse. She’s not going to be marching up to a judge in a crowded courthouse. She doesn’t need a judge, she needs a counselor."
  • "If, in desperation, teenagers turn to illegal, self-induced or back-alley abortions many will suffer serious injuries and some will die."[1]


The "No on 73" side spent $5,637,252 through six different campaign committees. The largest committee, the "Campaign for Teen Safety", spent $5.5 million.[3]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte $687,849
Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles County $563,758
Planned Parenthood (Golden Gate) $311,419
Planned Parenthood of San Diego $306,769
Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties $286,458
Planned Parenthood (Shasta Diablo) $283,163
Rebecca Q. Morgan $250,000
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California $155,204
California Family Health Council $150,000
Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties $126,669
NARAL Pro-Choice California $109,969
Susan Packard Orr $100,000
Julie Packard $100,000
Marta Kauffman $100,000

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

The signature-gathering drive to collect the 373,816 valid signatures required to qualify Proposition 73 for the ballot was conducted by Bader & Associates, Inc., a petition management company owned by Tom Bader and Joy Bader, at a cost of $2,527,611.[4]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Advocacy websites: