California Proposition 85, Parental Notification for Minor's Abortion (2006)

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California Proposition 85, the Parental Notification Initiative, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

Proposition 85 would have required parental notification (with some exceptions) before termination of a minor's pregnancy.

In 1953, a law was enacted in California that allowed minors to receive an abortion without parental consent or notification. In 1987, the California State Legislature amended the 1953 law to require minors to obtain the consent of either a parent or a court before obtaining an abortion. The 1987 law was challenged in court and was never enforced. The California Supreme Court struck it down altogether in 1997.[1]

In 2005, supporters of parental notification first tried using the state's ballot initiative process to require parental notification. Proposition 73 (2005) failed, with 47.3% of the vote. After Proposition 85 also failed, parental notification supporters qualified Proposition 4 for the 2008 ballot. Proposition 4 also failed.


Proposition 85 would have required a physician (or his or her representative) to notify the parent or legal guardian of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion involving that minor. Proposition 85 would not have required a physician or a minor to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian. Proposition 85 defined a minor as an unemancipated female under the age of 18 who had not entered into a valid marriage, was not on active duty in the armed services of the United States, and had not been declared free from her parents’ or guardians’ custody and control under state law.[1]

The notification required under Proposition 85 could have occurred either through:

  • Personal Written Notification. "Written notice could be provided to the parent or guardian personally—for example, when a parent accompanied the minor to an office examination."
  • Mail Notification. "A parent or guardian could be sent a written notice by certified mail so long as a return receipt was requested by the physician and delivery of the notice was restricted to the parent or guardian who must be notified. An additional copy of the written notice would have to be sent at the same time to the parent or guardian by first-class mail."[1]

Election results

Proposition 85
Result Votes Percentage
Defeatedd No 4,576,128 54.2%
Yes 3,868,714 45.8%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 85 had been approved, it would have added a new Section 32 to Article I of the California Constitution.

Ballot language


The ballot title was:

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


Proposition 85 2006.PNG

The question on the ballot was:

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


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 85 said:

  • Amends California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent or legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with parental waiver.
  • Permits minor to obtain court order waiving notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests.
  • Mandates various reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions performed on minors.
  • 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, court administration, and state health agency administration combined."


Website banner of the "Yes on 85" campaign


The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 85 were signed by:

  • William P. Clark, a retired justice of the California Supreme Court
  • Mary L. Davenport, M.D., a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Professor Joseph R. Zanga, M.D., FAAP, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Professor Teresa Stanton Collett, J.D.
  • Jane E. Anderson, M.D., FAAP, a clinical professor of pediatrics[2]

Arguments in favor

The arguments presented in the official voter guide in favor of Proposition 85 were:

  • Puts parents in a position to "help young daughters with the serious physical, emotional, or psychological complications which may result from an abortion".
  • Puts parents in a position to "protect their daughters from further sexual abuse, exploitation, and pregnancies."
  • "Parents and daughters in more than 30 other states have benefited for years from laws like Prop. 85. Many times, after such laws pass, there have been substantial reductions in pregnancies and abortions among minors."
  • Under the terms of Proposition 85, minors can petition the court to bypass its parental notification requirements.[2]


$3,808,873 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Proposition 85.[3]

Donors of $50,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
James Holman $2,136,270
Don Sebastiani $475,000
Robin P. Arkley, II $137,000
Lenawee Trust $75,000
Christian Community Theater $50,000
Serving Hands International $50,000


"No on 85" website banner


The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 85 were signed by:

  • Jack Lewin, M.D., CEO, California Medical Association
  • Robert L. Black, M.D., American Academy of Pediatrics, California District
  • Kathy Kneer, CEO, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
  • Donna W. Chipps, Executive Vice President, League of Women Voters of California
  • Bo Greaves, M.D., President, California Academy of Family Physicians
  • Jeanne A. Conry, M.D., vice-chair, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX California[2]

Arguments against

The arguments presented in the official voter guide opposing Proposition 85 were:

  • While parental involvement is valuable, "in the real world, some California teenagers come from homes where they can’t talk to their parents, where there is violence, or where a family member has sexually abused them."
  • For teens who can't or won't go to their parents, "Proposition 85 forces these teens to delay critical medical care or turn to self-induced or illegal back-alley abortions. Some will go across the border; some will suffer serious injuries or even consider suicide."
  • "The California Supreme Court found 'overwhelming' evidence that similar laws in other states cause real harm to teenagers and families."[2]


$7,255,137 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Proposition 85.[4]

Donors of $100,000 or more were:

Donor Amount
Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte $904,744
Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles County $838,618
Planned Parenthood (Shasta Diablo) $556,344
Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties $545,418
Planned Parenthood (Golden Gate) $375,455
Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties $323,685
Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties $259,696
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California $192,290
Rebecca Q. Morgan $175,000
California Family Health Council $108,035
George M. Marcus $100,000
Susan P. Orr $100,000

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

As an initiated constitutional amendment, 598,105 valid signatures were required to qualify Proposition 85 for the ballot. The signatures were collected by Bader & Associates, Inc., a petition management company owned by Tom Bader and Joy Bader, at a cost of $2,527,615.47.[5]

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

External links

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