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Groups on both sides of abortion debate boost their support for dueling female candidates

The pro-abortion rights group EMILY's List launched an Internet campaign on Tuesday aimed at creating support for the 32 female candidates it is endorsing for state and federal office this year. The campaign, called "Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me," aims to counter former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) high-profile endorsements of "Mama Grizzly" candidates who want to restrict abortion rights. 

At a press conference Tuesday, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock called the Mama Grizzlies "backwards-looking." The charge immediately drew reaction from the competing Susan B. Anthony List, which supports abortion opponents for office. 

"EMILY’s List is running scared — and it shows," Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. "Clearly, in this ‘Year of the Pro-Life Woman,’ which Sarah Palin helped make possible, women have found their political voices. Pro-life ‘Mama Grizzlies’ represent the majority of women across the country." 

Schriock called her group's new campaign a "get out the vote hub" and drew particular attention to three key races where its candidates are running against Sarah Palin's endorsees: the California Senate race pitting Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) against Republican Carly Fiorina; the Minnesota House race where Tarryl Clark hopes to unseat Rep. Michele Bachmann (R); and the New Mexico governor's race pitting Democrat Diane Denish against Republican Susana Martinez. 

The EMILY's List campaign features an Internet video of women in bear costumes mocking the "Mama Grizzlies" slogan. The women caution Palin that "there are plenty of Mama Grizzlies out there who would disagree with you." 

EMILY's List says it raised $43 million during the 2007-2008 election cycle and has helped elect 80 pro-abortion-rights women to the U.S. House and 15 to the Senate since 1985. During her press conference, Schriock twice declined to say how much the group was spending on its new campaign. 

The Susan B. Anthony List, for its part, recently launched a bus tour through Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to build momentum for its endorsed candidates. The group says it has elected 75 pro-life women to the U.S. House of Representatives and seven to the U.S. Senate since 1992.