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In ‘sneak attack,’ North Carolina GOP pushes bill that could close all but one abortion clinic

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Legislation to ban Islamic law in North Carolina now also contains a number of anti-abortion measures, potentially closing all but one abortion clinic in the state.

“This attempted sneak attack on women’s reproductive rights is absolutely shameful,” Sarah Preston of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said Tuesday. “Issues as vital and personal as access to comprehensive health care and doctor-patient relationships deserve to be debated in an open, public process – not hastily pushed through without notice and under the cover of night during a holiday week.”

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House Bill 695 originally sought to prohibit courts from using Sharia and other foreign laws in family law proceedings. The North Carolina Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday unexpectedly tacked on six anti-abortion measures late in the afternoon and sent the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) said she was “appalled” by Republicans’ attempt to use “procedural tricks” to ram the anti-abortion measures through the state Senate.

The legislation would now allow any health care provider to opt out of providing abortion-related services, prohibit health plans offered through federal health care exchanges from offering abortion coverage, outlaw sex-selection abortions, require doctors to stay in the room during the entire abortion procedure, force abortion clinics to obtain patient-transfer agreements with local hospitals, and mandate that abortion clinics meet the same stringent standards as outpatient surgical centers.

“These loathsome restrictions and the deceitful method through which the Senate tried to pass them are an obvious effort to not simply prevent women in North Carolina from having comprehensive access to much-needed health care, but to not even give them an opportunity to weigh in on legislation that will have wide-ranging impacts on women and doctors all across our state,” Preston added.

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Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Morganton) told the News & Observer that abortion clinics should be regulated the same way as surgical centers. Just one clinic in the state currently meets that standard, which includes regulations on corridor widths and room sizes, among many others.

“The politicians who responsible for this backdoor maneuvering have taken seriously the rising tide of activists gathering weekly outside the General Assembly to oppose anti-choice legislation. Unfortunately, the lesson they’ve taken is that the best way to accomplish their goals is to hide their maneuvers from the public,” said Suzanne Buckley of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

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‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor

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On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.

"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."

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‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid

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On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."

Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:

CORRECTION:

I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.

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‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado

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The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.

Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.

It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.

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