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Obama administration shores up protections for Planned Parenthood

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The Obama administration has issued a final rule designed to block states from withholding federal Title X money for Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.

The new rule, issued on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is designed to clarify regulations under Title X of the Public Health Service Act and “protect access to family planning services,” the department said in a statement.

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“This rule will strengthen access to essential services like cancer screenings and contraception for some of the most vulnerable patients in this country,” Dr. Karen Scott, chief medical officer of the HHS, said in a statement.

Scott said public comments prior to finalizing the rule “showed overwhelming support.”

The move was seen as a last-ditch effort by the Obama administration to shore up protections under Title X, which provides funds to nearly 4,000 community-based clinics that serve more than 4 million people each year.

HHS said the rule aimed to address moves by several states to restrict participation by “certain types of providers” for reasons unrelated to their ability to provide family planning services.

The final rule clarifies that entities cannot be barred from participating for reasons other than their ability to provide services.

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“The Obama Administration’s rule makes it clear that it is against the law for states to block people from accessing care at a health center because the organization also provides safe, legal abortion,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Additional reporting by Jilian Mincer in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera attacks former White House press secretary on Twitter as ‘old douche’

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In a bizarre moment, Sunday evening politics turned into a war of wards in President Donald Trump's Twitter comments.

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera responded to former press secretary Joe Lockhart, who had replied to one of the tweets Trump retweeted from Rivera.

"Gloom settling on Democrats as they realize they’ve taken their best kill shot & missed. Dems in despair. Republicans United. @realDonaldTrump survives & #Impeachment all over but the shouting," said Rivera, hopefully not literally saying that Democrats wanted to shoot or kill the president.

Lockhart responded to the comment by mocking the Fox News host, saying that he was only making the comment to help get his contract renewed.

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Cartoon Chief Justice tells Susan Collins to just quit and ‘go become a lobbyist’ already

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Cartoon Chief Justice John Roberts began the latest season of Stephen Colbert's animated show, which began its new season Sunday.

Facing the U.S. Senate, Roberts observed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) dressed as a mouse.

"Oh no! Mouse in the chamber! Everybody forget this vote and run!" the cartoon senator said.

"Senator Collins, just go be a lobbyist," cartoon Roberts said.

As Roberts explained the rules to the chamber, Collins was then spotted spilling gasoline on the floor.

"Everyone, please remember, this is the United States Senate," Roberts said. "We must not degrade the sacred institution home to Strom Thurmond. Let us comport ourselves with dignity, prudence, and Senator Collins, what are you doing?"

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Republican senator admits he didn’t know about Bolton’s confirmation of Trump’s bribery — but still doesn’t care

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Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) still doesn't necessarily believe that President Donald Trump should be convicted, even though former national security adviser John Bolton revealed a first-hand account in his unpublished manuscript.

"Well, didn't know that until a little bit ago," Braun told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I think that's a discussion we'll have have to contend with and it'll be here in a couple of days. When it comes to additional information, I think for many of us -- and I need to cite this because where I'm from, as much as president infuriates maybe half the country, it would be the opposite. And it is a tricky combination like I told Chuck Todd this morning, between using your conscience and having to decide what the people in your state are wanting."

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