Abortion opponents have a new voice
In the often heated debate over abortion, a less confrontational, more pragmatic force is behind a record number of antiabortion laws and pro-choice's 'bad year.'
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Yoest boasts that 22 of the 86 measures began in some form with AUL guidance. Taken in full, the reforms are sweeping and go much further than bills debated in recent years – like parental notification or consent – around which there might have been some, albeit limited, cross-party agreement, say abortion-rights advocates.
For example, some of the AUL-influenced results this year include:
•A Texas mandate that women seeking abortion undergo a sonogram, hear a description of the fetus from the provider, and wait 24 hours after this exchange before having the procedure.
•Kansas clinic regulations that essentially shutter abortion providers with stringent rules ranging from the temperatures of procedure rooms to the drugs and equipment that must be on hand. A federal judge temporarily blocked this law last month.
This flurry of activity comes in large part as a result of GOP victories in 2010 that provided Republicans with control of 21 statehouses and governorships, compared with 11 for Democrats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Playing against type
But beside the undeniable political advantage, there's something else afoot, something Yoest embodies. She represents the changing face of the antiabortion movement. No longer are ideologically driven men necessarily the dominant spokesmen.
Despite her career in Republican politics, notable most recently for a stint as communications director on Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign, it's harder to peg Yoest in the traditionally one-dimensional caricature of an antiabortion advocate. She is not shrill, rigid, or somehow provincial in values or experience. She is not a fire-and-brimstone finger wagger, though faith is a centerpiece of her life.
In fact, Yoest has many of the attributes of a feminist – her career is a point of obvious pride and focus, and it has at times also dictated family moves and priorities – though she would strongly insist she has none of the sentiments. She holds a doctorate of philosophy in government from the University of Virginia, a degree she achieved after 10 years of study while raising her children. She is the daughter of two PhDs – a Fulbright-awarded economist father and a mother who specializes in communication theory. She is a breast cancer survivor, a marathoner, and the mother of an athlete on the Junior National World Development Rowing team.