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Abortion rights activists rally at Texas Capitol against restrictions

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Hundreds of abortion rights activists rallied at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, saying a raft of proposed legislation placing restrictions on the procedure in the most populous Republican-controlled state would endanger millions of women.

Lawmakers in Texas, which vaulted to the forefront of the national abortion debate when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 struck down a previous set of the state’s restrictions, are looking in the current session to pass bills that include a ban on a common form of second-trimester abortions.

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Last month, the Texas Senate also approved a so-called wrongful birth bill. The measure shields doctors from lawsuits if they withhold information about potential fetal abnormalities if they believe the information may prompt the parents to seek an abortion. Supporters say the measure protects the sanctity of life.

Former Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat who gained fame for her 2013 filibuster against the state’s abortion restrictions, told the rally that social conservatives have been emboldened by the election of Republican Donald Trump as president and “hell-bent” on holding women back.

“Now, we are facing the worst political attacks on women’s health in a generation,” she said on the Capitol steps in front of supporters holding pink signs reading “Don’t take away our care.”

Other proposed restrictions include a bill to halt insurance coverage for abortions and make women pay a separate premium if they wanted coverage. The bill won initial approval in the state Senate last month.

Supporters said the measure allows those who oppose abortion to prevent their money from subsidizing the procedure while critics said it would hurt poorer women who could not afford the coverage.

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“Texas is one of the most active states in the current legislative session in terms of abortion restrictions,” said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group.

The Texas legislature meets once every two years and with the current session set to finish at the end of May, analysts are unsure how many of the restrictions might be enacted by the Republican-dominated body, where attention is now focused on passing a two-year budget.

Many at the rally were critical of the plans of national and state Republican leaders including calls to defund Planned Parenthood.

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A U.S. judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction in February halting Texas’ plan to cut Medicaid funding, saying the state did not present evidence of a program violation that would warrant termination.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed

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George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.

"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."

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Fox News triggers outrage with graphic comparing how much stocks have risen after racist tragedies

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On Friday, Fox News displayed a graph that appeared to compare the amount the stock market has risen in the week after various racial tragedies, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, the beating of Rodney King, the Ferguson incident, and the death of George Floyd.

2. Here’s the video of the graphic as it aired on Fox News this evening. pic.twitter.com/Iww2DnzkkI

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 5, 2020

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Bill Barr denies giving the order to gas protesters for Trump photo-op

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America's top law enforcement office on Friday denied giving the highly-controversial order to gas protesters prior to a photo-op with President Donald Trump holding a Bible.

"Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision," The Associated Press reports.

"Barr’s comments in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday were his most detailed explanation yet of what unfolded outside the White House earlier this week. They come after the White House and others said repeatedly that the attorney general ordered officers to clear the park," the AP reported. "Shortly after officers aggressively pushed back demonstrators, President Donald Trump — accompanied by Barr, Pentagon leaders and other top advisers — walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo at a nearby church that had been damaged during the protests."

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