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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.

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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.

“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.

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

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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In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out

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5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.

1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?

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Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?

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The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.

"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.

She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.

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Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo

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Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.

Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.

"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."

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