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Abortion opponents have a new voice

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Yoest, the president and chief executive officer of Americans United for Life, a group that offers 39 pieces of model legislation for state lawmakers and advocates, is one of the key actors pushing a wave of highly restrictive – the other side would say dangerous and illegal – initiatives limiting access to abortion. AUL's goal is to eat away at the underpinnings of the protections provided by Roe v. Wade – the landmark United States Supreme Court decision that extended the right to privacy to a woman's decision to have an abortion – not necessarily to challenge it outright. At least not yet.

So far this year, AUL and other like-minded groups have caught their adversaries flat-footed; some 22 states have enacted a record 86 new measures in 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual and reproductive health and supports abortion rights.

Just two years after the election of a pro-abortion rights Democratic president, it appears the antiabortion movement has been reborn.

"We were expecting a bad year – we weren't expecting this bad of a year," says Elizabeth Nash, a Guttmacher public policy associate.

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