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Trump administration urges judges to toss Planned Parenthood lawsuits against ‘abstinence-only’ programs

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The U.S. government is urging federal judges to dismiss two lawsuits by Planned Parenthood affiliates over its efforts to impose what they called an “abstinence-only-until-marriage” focus in its Teen Pregnancy Protection Program.

In court filings this week, government lawyers representing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Planned Parenthood lacked standing to sue because it chose not to apply for grants from the program.

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They also said its new criteria for awarding grants were “reasonable,” and consistent with Congressional intent and HHS’ past practices.

Planned Parenthood on Thursday had no immediate comment on the filings, which were made in the federal courts in Manhattan and in Spokane, Washington.

The organization provides abortions and other health services to women.

HHS in May changed its criteria for awarding grants under the teen pregnancy prevention program, which Planned Parenthood said has since its 2010 creation served more than 1 million young people and helped lower the teen birth rate by 41 percent.

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In seeking an injunction against awarding grants under the new criteria, Planned Parenthood said research has shown an abstinence-only focus on teen pregnancy is ineffective.

It also said the administration’s approach “stigmatizes” teens for having sex and restricts their ability to make informed health choices, and that the changes might be a precursor to ending the program altogether.

The government countered that the changes did not favor “sexual risk avoidance” programs over “sexual risk reduction” programs, and that the public interest would not be served if grants were halted to recipients able to put them to “good use.”

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The cases cover Planned Parenthood affiliates in New York City, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and Washington.

The cases are Planned Parenthood of New York City Inc v U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-05680; and Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho et al v U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, No. 18-00207.


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Trump’s attempt to unskew impeachment polls just hilariously backfired

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President Donald Trump for the past week has frantically tried to convince his supporters that support for his impeachment is still low -- despite the fact that multiple reputable pollsters have found support for impeaching the president has increased dramatically.

According to the polling average as calculated by FiveThirtyEight, an estimated 50.3 percent of Americans now support impeachment, while 43.8 percent oppose impeachment. This is a stark contrast from just one month ago when support for impeachment was at only 40 percent, while opposition was at 51 percent.

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Giuliani refuses to explain where the $500,000 he got from ‘Fraud Guarantee’ came from

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Rudy Giuliani appears on CBS (screen grab)

The plot thickened in the mysterious half-million-dollar payout to President Donald Trump's personal attorney.

Rudy Giuliani was paid $500,000 last year by a company founded by his Ukrainian-American business associate Lev Parnas -- but he insisted the payment was legitimate and originated in the U.S., reported the Washington Post.

“I know exactly where the money came from," Giuliani told the newspaper. "I knew it at the time."

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White House letter inadvertently revealed Trump has no impeachment defense: Conservative scholar

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On Tuesday, conservative think tank scholar Greg Weiner urged Democrats in The Bulwark to continue the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump — and suggested that the warning letter to House Democrats from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone proves he has no legal recourse to challenge it.

"The most compelling evidence for impeachment is now in the public record. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s refusal to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry is an attack not on its recipients — House Democrats who, through a process of legal alchemy, he accuses of violating phantom processes — but rather on the relationship between Congress and the executive branch," wrote Weiner. "President Donald Trump is now claiming for himself and, crucially, future presidents, the authority to determine the legitimacy of legislative oversight."

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