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Perrycare: Texas effort to ban Planned Parenthood also excludes pregnant women

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The State of Texas plans to move forward with a wholly remade women’s health program on November 1 that excludes Planned Parenthood’s clinics from receiving state funds, prohibits doctors from discussing abortion with patients and refuses health services entirely if the patient happens to be pregnant.

In doing so, Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled Texas legislature will forgo nearly $40 million in federal assistance, placing the program’s financial burden upon Texas taxpayers instead, all because federal law that requires states not discriminate against health providers when distributing federal funds.

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State Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat from Austin, said at a public hearing on Tuesday that the plan’s current wording would exclude pregnant women from seeking care at one of the state-funded clinics. The state’s actual proposal, however, says that those same women would likely still be eligible for Medicare, although that program charges significantly more than Planned Parenthood for comprehensive checkups and initially only offers reimbursements to new applicants.

Making matters worse, the Kaiser Health Foundation says the state of Texas has the most restrictive Medicaid program in the country, requiring parents of a family of three make no more than $188 a month in order to qualify. And if that weren’t bleak enough, only 31 percent of Texas doctors accept Medicaid — a number that’s been shrinking dramatically in recent years, according to a recent survey by the Texas Medical Association.

“The Texas I used to live in was compassionate and kind and politicians were not willing to literally put women’s lives at stake for the sake of their own self promotion,” one woman said during Tuesday’s hearing, according to The Dallas Morning News. “So from now on, I might as well just say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just a temporary Texan until I can find someplace more American to live.'”

Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that it asked a federal court to overturn an earlier ruling that allowed Texas to chop the group’s clinics from its women’s health program, arguing that its activities are constitutionally protected and the state is infringing on the nonprofit’s free speech rights.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas has 64 clinics operating across the state today, many of which will be shut down if it is excluded from the women’s health program. None of them provide abortion services, but they do offer referrals if a patient inquires.

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Even though the new women’s health program will send pregnant applicants to Medicare, that program as well is being restricted by the lone star state, with Gov. Perry vowing to refuse more than $164 billion in federal aid intended to expand coverage for low-income people.

Perry’s act of political defiance will ultimately deny coverage to more than 1.2 million low-income Texans who would otherwise be eligible under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Despite the state’s stronger than expected economic recovery, The Houston Chronicle noted that 2010 census data shows that 42 percent of single moms in Texas live in poverty, well above the national poverty rate (PDF) of 15.1 percent. According to the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, poverty during pregnancy is considered to be a leading factor contributing to children being born with severe learning difficulties and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is linked to a continuation of poverty later in life.

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This video is from KXAN in Austin, broadcast Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.


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Photo: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com.


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Supreme Court stuns experts with 7-2 ruling in Trump tax case

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In a decision that surprised many court observers, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that President Donald Trump cannot block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney seeking his tax returns.

Unlike all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon in the 1970s, New York real estate mogul Trump refused to release his tax returns, despite promising to do so during his 2016 White House campaign.

Trump made his fortune a key component of that campaign, and his lack of transparency raises questions about his true worth and possible conflicts of interest.

Congressional investigations have raised questions about whether Trump has sensitive financial exposure to Russia, and also whether he has used questionable accounting loopholes to avoid paying taxes in the 1990s and 2000s.

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GOP has all but given up on containment — instead they’re feeding Americans to the ‘coronavirus meatgrinder’: op-ed

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Writing in The Week this Thursday, Ryan Cooper says that as the coronavirus continues to spike across the country, Republicans have essentially abandoned efforts to stem the spread. "Instead they are feeding the American people into the coronavirus meatgrinder," he writes.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focused on protecting companies from liability if they infect their employees or customers, while President Trump threatens to cut off funding from schools that don't open in the fall.

"For months now Republicans have been positing a tradeoff between pandemic containment and the economy, as if we just cancel the lockdowns then everything can go back to normal," Cooper writes. "What they stubbornly refuse to understand is that the virus is the problem. As we are seeing, even in this benighted country a critical mass of people will not go about their normal activities if they are afraid of catching a dangerous disease. Similarly, Sweden did not officially lock down, and as a result it has suffered six-12 times as many deaths as its Scandinavian neighbors — yet its economy took just as bad a hit as theirs. Now that Norway, Denmark, and Finland have contained the virus and are reopening safely but many Swedes are still staying home, the economic damage will be even worse in relative terms."

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Mask-free UFC fighter punches and hurls racial slurs at older man for ‘touching’ him at restaurant

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UFC fighter Mike Perry was seen on video punching an older man for allegedly touching him. Perry, who is white, can also be heard using the N-word multiple times.

According to ESPN, the incident occurred at Table 82 in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday.

In a video shared on social media, Perry appears irate as he is ushered out of the restaurant.

Austin police officers who arrived on the scene declined to arrest Perry but said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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