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Revealed: The Group Behind the Bills that Could Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

It's no coincidence that bills to expand justifiable homicide laws have popped up in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Meet the group that launched the effort.

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Christensen added that he regretted citing the Kurr case in support of his legislation: "As I look more at the Michigan case, there were a lot of outlying factors," he said. "It was probably not a good one for me to have been quoting." After Christensen's bill was criticized for opening the door to violence against abortion providers, he said he had decided to "narrow it down to just protecting mother and unborn child."

AUL's efforts to expand justifiable homicide statutes are part of a broader push by social conservatives to advance the political front lines on abortion and other social issues. After Republicans won the House of Representatives and swept to almost unprecedented state-level success in November, social conservatives were invigorated. Since state and federal legislative sessions began in January, they have pushed GOP lawmakers to introduce scores of bills aimed at promoting what they call a "culture of life."

That effort hasn't failed to stir up controversy. At the federal level, House Republicans have attempted to limit the circumstances under which the government would pay for abortions to cases of "forcible rape," a measure that was eventually dropped after it caused a national furor in January. Since then, cuts in federal funding for family planning, proposals specifically outlawing funding for Planned Parenthood, a Georgia bill that could criminalize some miscarriages, and the series of AUL-backed bills allowing for justifiable homicide in defense of a fetus have all helped put the culture wars back on the nation's front pages. With conservatives riding a wave of 2010 success and anti-Obama feeling into the 2012 elections, anti-abortion forces are just getting started.

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