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US to expand abortion ‘gag rule,’ won’t fund certain groups: Pompeo

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The Trump administration on Tuesday expanded its anti-abortion policies, prohibiting U.S.-funded organizations from supporting other groups that support abortion and forbidding the use of U.S. tax dollars to lobby for or against abortion.

In 2017, Trump reinstated a policy known as the Mexico City Policy which requires foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. family planning funds to certify they do not provide abortions or give abortion advice.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States will expand that policy known by critics as the “global gag rule” by cracking down on NGOs that fund other groups that support abortion.

The United States will also enforce the federal law forbidding the use of U.S. funding, including foreign assistance, to lobby for or against abortion, he added.

“We will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry,” Pompeo told reporters.

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Studies have found the Mexico City policy leads to increases in abortion rates because of cuts to contraception use and closures of health clinics. The rule also potentially raises the risk of maternal deaths and endangers children’s health worldwide, researchers have said.

Pompeo added that the United States will cut funding to the Organization of American States as a result of the expanded rule. “The institutions of OAS should be focused on addressing crises in Cuba, Nicaragua and in Venezuela, not advancing the pro-abortion cause,” he said.

The OAS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the decision, saying in a post on Twitter: “There is no end to the depths of the Trump Administration’s cruelty. Millions of women … will be arbitrarily left without care due to this shameful decision.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation in February to permanently repeal the policy.

But anti-abortion groups applauded the announcement. “Taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion here or abroad, and respecting the inherent dignity of the unborn person goes hand in glove with our country’s foreign assistance and humanitarian work,” March for Life’s president, Jeanne Mancini, said in a statement.

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Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Makini Brice; Editing by Susan Heavey, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Berkrot


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Hope Hicks may have lied under oath that she wasn’t present when Trump and Cohen discussed Stormy Daniels

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Newly unsealed documents in the campaign finance case where Michael Cohen pleaded guilty may provide evidence that Hope Hicks lied to Congress under oath.

According to the court documents, President Donald Trump, Hope Hicks and Cohen were all in communication about the hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Not only did Hicks discuss the payments with both men, she exchanged text messages and emails on the topic.

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Anti-vaxxer threatened to kill Democratic congresswoman over vaccine bill: report

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A Pentagon contractor has been charged with threatening to kill a U.S. Congresswoman over a bill that would require all public schools receiving federal funds to ensure all children are vaccinated.

The Daily Beast reports the court filing does not name the lawmaker, but they have determined it is Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL). It says Darryl Albert Varnum of Westminster, Maryland is the person named in the criminal complaint filed in federal court.

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2020 Election

White House aides fear Trump believes House vote against impeachment means it’s never going to happen: report

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A proposal to start impeachment hearings that failed in the House on Wednesday led Donald Trump to optimistically proclaim that his presidency is safe at his North Carolina rally last night. But his proclamation has some White House officials worried the president really believes he is out of the woods.

According to a report at Politico, close aides to the president worry that his comment that "we have all this [impeachment] behind us," may be based on an unfounded notion by Trump about how Congress works.

Speaking at his campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., Trump boasted to the crowd, "I just heard that the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in: the resolution -- how stupid is that -- on impeachment. I want to thank those Democrats because many of them voted for us, the vote was a totally lopsided 332-95-1.”

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