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Mike Pence and his ‘Indiana mafia’ are reorganizing important safety net programs to push their religious agenda

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Vice President Mike Pence and some of his longtime allies have been reorganizing the Department of Health and Human Services to promote their deeply conservative religious agenda — much to the delight of anti-abortion and anti-LGBT groups.

Pence and his “Indiana mafia,” according to one HHS official, have been working behind the scenes to defund Planned Parenthood, which he was unable to accomplish in Congress or as governor, reported Politico.

“There is a clear pattern dating back many years,” said Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen. “He has worked relentlessly to cut off access to women’s health care.”

Pence was involved from the outset of the Trump administration in identifying like-minded nominees, “particularly in roles Trump didn’t really care about,” according to one Republican operative.

HHS secretary Alex Azar, surgeon general Jerome Adams and Medicaid/Medicare head Seema Verma each have ties to Pence and Indiana, and other senior officials at the department include Pence’s former legislative director as governor and his former domestic policy adviser at the White House.

“He has clearly recruited people connected to him who share his very extreme views on sexual and reproductive health care,” said Emily Stewart, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood. “This has been one of the most active administrations ever on rolling back reproductive rights and there’s no way that happens unless you have people in the White House driving the effort to put out policies at such a rapid clip.”

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HHS was prepared, until courts stepped in, to tighten rules for the Title X federal family planning grants to prohibit clinics from referring women to abortion providers, and the agency has strengthened religious conscience protections for providers who refuse to perform abortions and other medical services.

“Pro-lifers have more of a seat at the table now,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of the anti-abortion Students for Life of America. “We have more active pro-lifers now in the West Wing and throughout the administration, and that’s a definitive shift from past administrations.”

Pence tried to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood as a U.S. congressman in 2007, but his House bill eventually stalled in the Senate.

He pushed his state in 2012, after he was elected Indiana governor, to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and restrict access to abortion, although courts blocked some of those measures.

Pence also signed funding cuts to Planned Parenthood clinics and the closure of at least one, which have been blamed in part for the state’s HIV outbreak from 2011 to 2015.

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Trump-loving actor hilariously roasted for complaining that a Canadian team won’t visit the White House

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Kevin Sorbo, a Trump-loving actor best known for playing Hercules in the TV series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," drew instant ridicule this week after he bitterly complained about a Canadian team that wouldn't visit President Donald Trump at the White House.

Earlier this week, Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green said that his team would not accept an invitation to the White House thanks to the behavior of President Donald Trump.

"I try to respect everybody in every field that they do regardless of how crazy things are," Green explained. "But he makes it really hard. He makes it very, very tough to respect how he goes about things and does things. To put it politely, I think it’s a hard no."

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Teen brutally attacks Hispanic mother after she got him suspended by school for racist abuse of her son

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A student at New Jersey school has been accused of brutally beating a Hispanic mother after she complained about her son being subjected to racist abuse.

NJ.com reports that 35-year-old Beronica Ruiz, whose son attends the Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy School No. 20 in Passaic, New Jersey, went to complain to administrators after her son had been subjected to bigoted taunts and threats of violence from other students.

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E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations against Trump exposed a depressing fact about the American public — according to this conservative

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This week, former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll published explosive allegations that President Donald Trump had raped her in a department store in the 1990s. In response, the President tweeted that she was "not his type" and that he'd never met her.

As the Democratic debates begin, media commenters wondered why a credible accusation of rape against a sitting President is not enough to permanently sink his chances at re-election, with some blaming the media for moving on too fast.

Writing in the conservative publication The Bulwark, Jonathan V. Last notes that the media did its job. And that it's the US public that lacks the moral compass to ditch the president, despite multiple allegations of sexual assault.

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