Special Election: Proposition 73

This measure would amend the state constitution to require physicians to
notify parents of an un-emancipated minor within 48 hours of a request for
an abortion except, in a medical emergency or with a parental waiver.

Proponents say the measure will simply ensure parents are notified before
their child has an aborition. Opponents say it is an effort by conservatives
to restrict access to abortions, and is a Trojan Horse that changes the
fundamental definition of life in the state constitution.

The initiative would prohibit physicians from performing an abortion until
written notification is given to parents and/or legal guardian of a minor
and a 48-hour reflection period has been endured.

The notice must be signed and dated by the physician and must inform the
parent or guardian that the un-emancipated minor is pregnant and has
requested an abortion. If physicians fail to notify the parents of a minor,
they may be fined or sued by the parents.

A medical emergency for which a physician can proceed with an abortion of a
minor must be to the degree at which the woman’s life may be in danger or
she will lose normal bodily function without the procedure.

The 48-hour reflection period can be waived by the minor’s parents or
guardian if a written consent is presented to the physician.

The initiative would also amend the constitution to define abortion as
causing, “death of an unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born.”
Currently, the state constitution defines abortion as a “medical treatment
intended to induce the termination of a pregnancy”.

A minor may obtain a court waiver by appearing before a Superior Court Judge
with clear and convincing evidence of maturity or by making clear that it
would not be in her best interest to have her parents consulted. The
proposition includes a provision that would require courts to issue an
annual report showing how many abortion requests were denied and upheld by
the judges. The measure also requires the Department of Health Services to
maintain statistics about abortions performed in California, including
monthly numbers, the county where the procedure is performed and the numbers
of abortions performed after parents are notified. DHs must create an annual
statistical report that will be made available to the public.

Proposition 73 is largely backed by Jim Holman and Tom Monaghan of Life on
the Ballot and the Catholic Common Good Foundation of California, Inc.

Proponents contend that the proposition would allow parents the opportunity
to advise their daughter of the best choice for her. They say that in the
thirty states that have passed laws similar to Prop. 73, there has been a
significant drop in pregnancy and abortion rates.

Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Feminist
Majority Foundation, and the California Medical Association are among those
opposing the initiative, saying that a new law will not enforce constructive
communication in families and that the initiative may prove dangerous for
teens who are in abusive families and could potentially lead to other more
dangerous modes of abortion.

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