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Virginia approves toned-down abortion ultrasound bill

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Lawmakers in Virginia approved Wednesday a watered-down version of a highly contested bill requiring women in the eastern US state to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

By a 65-32 vote, the Republican-dominated House of Delegates gave its green light to 11th hour revisions proposed by Governor Bob McDonnell to tame a national uproar over the so-called “informed consent” legislation.

In its original form, every woman seeking an abortion in Virginia would have to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound screening, in which a probe is inserted deep into the vagina.

The resulting image would remain in a woman’s medical file for seven years, and any doctor who failed to perform a pre-abortion ultrasound would be liable to prosecution and fines.

But under pressure from pro-choice activists, as well as stinging ridicule from late-night television comics, McDonnell tweaked the bill to require only non-intrusive abdominal ultrasounds.

“It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bill’s stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age,” he said in a letter to lawmakers.

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“Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state,” added McDonnell, a Roman Catholic father of five and a rising star in the Republican party.

“No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”

Democratic legislators tried to get a final vote on the bill postponed for a third day running, saying they needed time to look closer at the governor’s amendments, but they were outnumbered by their Republican counterparts.

Woman getting ultrasound photo via Shutterstock

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The right-wing scored more in years of Trump than eight years of George W. Bush: report

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President George W. Bush oversaw eight years that restricted rights, banned LGBTQ equality, appointed anti-choice judges and so much more. But under Donald Trump's presidency, social conservatives have managed to roll back any progress made by President Barack Obama's leadership.

A new Axios report listed out any anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-poor policies.

“He campaigned saying that he would be a good friend to LGBT people,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told VOX. "Actions speak far louder than words. And what he's done has been a wreck."

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Israel’s Netanyahu just christened a building named after Trump — that doesn’t even exist

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his Father’s Day dedicating a new Trump Tower-type building that hasn't been built in a town that doesn't exist.

Standing in front of a large sign saying "Trump Heights," Netanyahu, who is being forced back into another election, announced the building before planning even began, Axios reported.

A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK

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This graphic explains why Speaker Pelosi is resistant to impeachment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has told her caucus that they can do investigations into the president without impeachment. The difference, however, is that there are fewer legal benefits available to Congress in their oversight role than in impeachment.

Theoretically, it should enable Democrats to do the research they need, but the White House is taking the bold step to defy the oversight the Constitution outlines. The only option open to the Democrats has been to go to court with their case outlining how the White House is breaking the law. Thus far, they've won two lawsuits about their investigations, and they will likely gain more.

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