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House Republicans aim to redefine rape to limit abortion coverage

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A majority of House Republicans are taking aim at decreasing federal funding for reproductive health by changing the definition of rape in a newly-filed bill.

Currently, the federal government denies taxpayer monies to be used to pay for abortions, except in cases when pregnancies result from rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the woman’s life.

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However, if the 173 mainly Republican co-sponsors of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” have their way, that would all change. Instead of keeping the 30-year-old definition of rape in federal law, the bill would modify it to “forcible rape,” thereby severely limiting the health care choices of millions of American women and their families.

In other words, rape would not be rape unless violence were involved; however, the term “forcible rape” was left undefined, leading some to speculate its meaning since it is also not defined in the federal criminal code or in some state laws.

“This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible,” Nick Baumann of Mother Jones wrote recently.

He continued, “For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.”

If the bill becomes law, parents of minors would also be banned from paying for pregnancy termination for their daughters with tax-exempt health savings accounts. Also, the cost of the private health insurance that covered the treatment would not be able to be deducted as a medical expense for tax purposes.

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The bill introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was the second major piece of legislation filed by the Republicans after its attempt to repeal “The Affordable Care Act.” Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) hailed Smith’s bill as “one of our highest legislative priorities.”

“A ban on taxpayer funding of abortions is the will of the people, and it ought to be the will of the land,” Boehner said on the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade last week.

The bill would also deny other exemptions for rape victims who were drugged or given alcohol, who were mentally limited, and who were date raped.

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The incest exception of the bill granted federally-funded abortions only if the woman is under 18.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said recently that Rep. Smith’s bill marked a new beginning for future attacks on women’s health. She noted that “a record number” of bills against women’s health and family planning are currently filed in state legislatures.

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“In fact, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) plans to introduce a bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of all Title X family planning funding, which has made it possible for millions of low-income women to choose and pay for contraception and other basic preventive health care since 1970,” she said.

A November 2010 Hart Research poll [PDF] indicated that a majority of American voters who voted for a Republican candidate (71 percent) opposed the Smith bill.


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Texas GOPer Cornyn blames Trump’s problems on campaign ‘grifters’ — then calls Giuliani ‘not relevant’

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Appearing on CBS's “Face the Nation," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) attempted to blame Donald Trump's impeachment problems on "grifters" who found a way to attach themselves to the now-president when he began to run for president.

Speaking with host Margaret Brennan, Cornyn was asked about allegations made by Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas that have implicated not only the president but Vice President Mike Pence and senior White House officials in an attempt to strongarm the leaders of Ukraine in return for military aid.

"Doesn't it trouble you that [Parnas] was working so closely with Rudy Giuliani, who was acting on the president's behalf and saying he was acting on the president's behalf?" host Brennan asked. "

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‘No sound basis’: Georgetown law professor explains why Alan Dershowitz will crumble under Senate questioning

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Georgetown law professor John Mikhail suggested on Sunday that the portion of President Donald Trump's defense which is being covered by Alan Dershowitz to fail because it has "no sound basis" in history and law.

"There is no sound basis for Alan Dershowitz to claim that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. In addition to being at odds with common sense, this claim is contradicted by a clear and consistent body of historical evidence," Mikhail stated.

The law professor cited the impeachment of Warren Hastings in the 1780s.

"Some of the best evidence comes from the case of Warren Hastings, which informed the drafting Art. II, Sec 4," Mikhail wrote. "The fact that he was not guilty of treason, but still deserved to be impeached, was a major reason 'other high crimes and misdemeanors' was added to the Constitution."

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Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.

Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.

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