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Obama admin.to enforce universal birth control access

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The Obama administration announced Friday it would stand by a policy that requires virtually all private insurance policies to cover family planning, including female contraceptives, essentially guaranteeing near universal access to birth control once all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented.

Friday’s decision comes after the White House was lobbied by religious organizations for an expanded exemption to the rule that would have allowed employers who are opposed to birth control to deny it to their employees.

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius granted these groups an additional year to comply with the new rule but did not broaden its exemption, which allows only churches and religious non-profits that hire exclusively within their faith to avoid the family planning requirement.

“All women should have access to contraceptive coverage, regardless of where they work,” Nancy Keenan, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, explained in an advisory. “The administration stood firm against intensive lobbying efforts from anti-birth-control organizations trying to expand the refusal option even further to allow organizations and corporations to deny their employees contraceptive coverage. As a result, millions will get access to contraception—and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission.”

The administration’s refusal to weaken the rule deals a blow to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who’d insisted that the administration must exclude religious employers. “The bishops pulled out all the stops in their campaign against women’s access to contraception,” Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, explained in an advisory.

Despite the bishops’ opposition, “the Obama administration stood with those who support religious liberty and believe in giving women the freedom of conscience to make their own reproductive health decisions,” he added. “Catholics for Choice and our colleagues in the reproductive rights movement expended a huge amount of energy and resources mobilizing the public to take action on this pivotal issue. In the final analysis, this was a victory for common sense and scientific advice in the interests of the common good.”

While Friday’s decision was indeed a victory for pro-choice activists, the Obama administration in December shot down a proposed rule that would have made birth control pills available over the counter and without an age restriction, even though the pills are less toxic than the common painkiller Tylenol. Over the counter sales of Plan B had previously been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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The family planning requirement for private insurance is set to take effect August 1.


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New York’s coronavirus crisis tracked back to European travel — not China: scientists

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The New York Times reported Wednesday that scientists have tracked the cases of coronavirus in New York back to travel from Europe.

The Times explained that genomes show the link to those who came down with the virus back in February.

President Donald Trump has been celebrating his decision to shut down some travel from China, though not all travel. A whopping 430,000 people have traveled from China to the United States since the coronavirus crisis.

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Warrant for journalists from Jerry Falwell Jr. came from Liberty University’s own police

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A right-wing commentator interviewed Jerry Falwell Jr. during his show Wednesday, where Falwell said that there were two arrest warrants open for reporters who came onto Liberty University's campus.

Upon further examination of the warrant, the police officer who signed the warrant was Detective/Sgt. A.B. Wilkins 206 LUPD. The LUPD is not the Lynchburg Police Department nor is there a Sgt. or Detective A.B. Wilkins. It's the police department under the authority of Liberty University.

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Trump defenders Diamond and Silk locked out of Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation

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Fox Nation hosts Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known as Diamond & Silk, were temporarily locked out of Twitter on Wednesday for urging people to go outside and develop immunity against the coronavirus.

“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” the pair tweeted from their joint account.

A spokesperson for Twitter told Mediaite their account was locked over the tweet.

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