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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island

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ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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‘Names are going to start coming out’: New report says more elites will be exposed in the Epstein case — and ‘DC is on edge’

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Will other powerful people — presumably men — get taken down as a result of the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein?

That’s the hope of many closer followers of the story, but it’s far from clear what, if any, fallout there will be. Epstein’s connections to Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have raised suspicions about potential evidence of their wrongdoing, such suspicions remain unproven. Alan Dershowitz has already faced accusations of being involved in Epstein’s crimes, though he denies the charge vigorously.

But a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that “DC is on edge” over the Epstein case, and any elites who have run in his circles could be involved. Dozens of girls, if not more, are believed to be involved in his alleged sex trafficking, and lawyers for some of the women who have accused Epstein are strongly suggesting that other high-profile figures will be implicated.

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‘It’s so un-American’: Internet scorches Trump supporters for racist chants of ‘Send her back!’

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The ignoble highlight of President Donald Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday was when his fans doubled down on his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), chanting "Send her back! Send her back!"

Political commentators of all stripes were gobsmacked by the crowd's naked racism — and buried them in condemnation:

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.

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