California Pro-Life Advocates Reflect on Parental Notification Abortion Vote

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 9, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Pro-Life Advocates Reflect on Parental Notification Abortion Vote Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 9
, 2006

Sacramento, CA ( — They expected the second time around to be different. After a parental notification ballot measure failed in 2005, pro-life advocates thought it would fare better during a general election. Instead, Proposition 85 did worse than its Proposition 73 companion in the previous election.

The measure, which would have required telling a teenager’s parents about her abortion 48 hours before being able to get one, was defeated 54-46 on Tuesday, a two point margin higher than Prop 73 lost last year.

Katie Short, a Ventura County lawyer who helped draft both propositions, told the Sacramento Bee that losing the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have hurt the cause.

Last year, he spoke up in favor of parental notification but was nowhere to be found this time around.

"I don’t know what he was thinking," Short said. "Maybe he decided it wasn’t going to a factor in his winning this year. So why take the personal flack?"

Part of the problem continues to be a lack of funding in what is generally considered a pro-abortion state.

Opponents, led by Planned Parenthood abortion centers, raised more than $5.4 million to defeat the measure while pro-life advocates had about $3 million to promote it.

Carrie Gordon Earll, director of issues analysis for focus on the Family Action, said that money allowed Planned Parenthood to run misleading commercials.

“Unfortunately, the abortion industry and its political machine made defeating these parental- rights measures an election priority – often misrepresenting what the proposed law would do," she said.

Don Sebastiani, a winemaker and former state legislator who heavily financed the measure, told the Bee "I think it’s amazing that it did worse this time." He would not say whether he thinks pro-life advocates will give the measure a third try.

Exit polling shows proponents didn’t connect with minority voters as well as pre-polling data showed they were doing.

White voters opposed the parental notification measure by a 56-44 clip and Hispanic voters were expected to make up the difference with their strong support. Though pre-election polling showed they backed the initiative by a large margin, they split just 50-50 on election day.

Black California residents opposed Prop 85 on a 56-44 percent margin while Asians backed it 53-47.

Other exit polling data showed men opposed the measure by a similar 53-47 margin as did women, 54-46. Younger voters were the most likely age group to oppose it while those over 60 split 50-50, the best of any age category.

Lower and middle income voters split about evenly but wealthy Californians, accounting for 14 percent of the vote, opposed parental notification by a whopping 2-1 margin.

Democrats opposed Prop 85 by a 72-28 clip, Republicans backed it 73-27, and independent voters opposed it 63-37.

Parents of children under 18 supported the measure as did Bush supporters.

Surprisingly, pro-life advocates didn’t support the measure as only 78 percent of those who said abortion should always be illegal voted for it and just 78 percent of those who said abortion should be mostly illegal. Some 31 percent of abortion advocates supported parental notification.

Voters in southern California and the central valley were more supportive while those in LA, the Bay area and coastal California were opposed.