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California: Did You Know?

Did you know that California voters defeated three (of three) anti-choice ballot measures in the last five years?

In 2005, California voters decisively rejected an anti-choice effort to impose restrictions on young women's access to abortion.  At that time, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan said, "Yesterday's vote is a sign that Californians want Governor Schwarzenegger and other elected officials to focus on ways to prevent unintended pregnancy. Fortunately, California has made honest, medically accurate sex education a priority, so let's hope the state will devote more resources to these efforts, now that voters have said no to anti-choice proposals like Prop. 73."

Again in 2006 and 2008, voters rejected similar proposals.  The measures – Proposition 85 in 2006 and Proposition 4 in 2008 – would have required a doctor to notify a young woman's parent or legal guardian 48 hours before providing abortion care.  California voters defeated Proposition 4 by a 52-percent to 48-percent margin. A similar effort emerged in 2010 in the form of the “Parents Must Be Notified Before A Minor Daughter May Obtain an Abortion Act,” but anti-choice activists failed to gather the signatures required to place this act before voters.

Despite these four consecutive failures, anti-choice forces are pressing ahead, with an eye on the 2012 ballot.

Ideally, all young people would involve their parents in decisions about their health care, including abortion.   Unfortunately, some cannot because they come from homes where physical violence, emotional abuse, or neglect are present, or because their pregnancies are the result of incest.  Mandatory parental-involvement laws do not solve the problem of troubled family communication; they only exacerbate a potentially dangerous situation and threaten teens' safety.  


Text of Proposed Laws, Proposition 4, at (last visited December 8, 2008); Evelyn Nieves, Parental Abortion Notice Law Defeated a Third Time, Assoc. Press, Nov. 5, 2008;


Press Release, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Californians Vote to Keep Teens Safe, Reject Anti-Choice Prop. 73 (Nov. 9, 2005); Cynthia Dailard and Chinue Turner Richardson, Teenager's Access to Confidential Reproductive Health Services, Guttmacher Rep. on Pub. Pol'y, Nov. 2005; Text of Proposed Laws, Proposition 73, at


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