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Prop. 73 Proponents Wonder What’s Next

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Sacramento, CA — Anti-abortion-rights activists grapple with Prop. 73´s failure, with some blaming apathy from their own ranks.

Proposition 73 would have required doctors to notify a parent 48 hours in advance of performing an abortion on a minor. While Proposition 73 activists assess whether to resurrect their proposal for a future ballot, some say a key part of Tuesday´s loss was a weak, underfunded campaign.

The measure, which would require parental notification before a minor had an abortion, lost by 52.6 percent to 47.4 percent. Proponents raised just over $2 million, of which $1.1 million was used to gather signatures for the qualifying petition, according to the campaign. Opponents topped $5 million.

Also contributing to the defeat was the general “no” sentiment of voters,- who rejected all eight statewide measures – and the strong turnout of union members and Democrats, said Spence and other proponents interviewed for this story.

But Spence said the election could have been won if there had been a better-financed, more aggressive campaign. He added that a subsequent effort will be more difficult because opponents, led by Planned Parenthood, built a foundation by selling their message to voters this time.

While opponents raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from throughout the country, much of it from Planned Parenthood affiliates – proponents largely relied on the $1.1 million chipped in by San Diego newspaper publisher Jim Holman, who launched the Prop. 73 effort. Anti-abortion-rights activists elsewhere in the country sat on their hands for the most part.