Anti-abortion Bill Would Raise Taxes on Small Businesses That Provide Comprehensive Healthcare

Categories: Business, Health

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Photo by Elvert Barnes
40th March for Life on the U.S. Supreme Court

Anti-abortion bills are a dime a dozen, but as it turns out the latest one to pass the U.S. House of Representatives has some detrimental side effects for small businesses.
The House voted to pass the Republican-backed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act on Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v Wade, which establishes a woman's right to abortion.

The bill is the latest in an ongoing chronicle of Republican attempts to curtail abortion rights. Recently, the GOP-controlled House scheduled a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions for women beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. That vote didn't pan out after House Republican women pushed back against party leaders and complained that the bill unfairly required rape victims seeking abortions to provide police reports. In 2013, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

See also:

Bachmann worries women's museum honoring her will become "shrine to abortion" [VIDEO]

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George Will Gets "Lie of the Year" for Misreading U of M Ebola Article

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Keith Allison, via Flickr
Conservative columnist George Will spouted an impressive amount of nonsense this year
Washington Post windbag George Will went on Fox News during the height of the Ebola scare and claimed the deadly disease could spread through airborne particles, much like the flu, directly contradicting medical experts.

When he was pressed to reveal his source, Will cited a University of Minnesota commentary taken completely out of context.

See also:
No, the University of Minnesota Isn't Saying Ebola Is Suddenly Airborne

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Silent March through Downtown an Eerie Reminder of Homeless Dead

Categories: Health, Housing

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Photo by Susan Du

From the guy riding the trains all night to the kid curled up on a sofa in the library, the Twin Cities' homeless drifters are easy to spot but quickly forgotten.

Thursday night, about 100 silent marchers cut a wide path from the Hennepin County Government Center to the Simpson United Methodist Church, hoisting a 10-foot tall effigy of a ghost-face homeless man to make people look a little closer at the people who have died in the streets this year.

See also:

Minneapolis cop criticized for treatment of homeless man at Temple Israel

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FDA Proposal Would Let Gay Men Give Blood If They Give Up Sex

Categories: Health

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Courtesy of Banned4Life
Blake Lynch and Brett Donnelly are healthy, HIV-negative partners in a monogamous relationship. They still won't be able to donate blood under the proposed one-year deferral plan.

Gay men haven't been allowed to donate blood since the AIDS outbreak of the mid-1980s. Then thought to be an exclusively gay disease, AIDS is still more prevalent among men who have sex with other men than any other demographic. But now that advances in testing have essentially eliminated the risk of infection via blood transfusions, blood banks and gay rights advocates say it's high time the Food and Drug Administration lift the lifetime ban on men who have ever had gay sex.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed letting gay men donate blood -- as long as they haven't had sex with other men within a year of doing so.

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Ramsey County Eliminates Day Treatment Centers for Mentally Ill Sex Offenders

Categories: Crime, Health

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Photo by Susan Du
ABC Mental Health Therapy's Dane Jorento and Janet Martin fear their patients won't have the option of group therapy under Ramsey County's new plan for sexual offender rehabilitation.

Denied key government contracts, all nonprofit day treatment centers for mentally ill sexual offenders in Ramsey County are doomed to disappear by the end of the year. ABC Mental Health Therapy, which has treated this specific population for nine years, plans to close its doors on Friday.

ABC's 15 remaining patients -- those who have not already walked out -- will have to seek treatment elsewhere in a community of dwindling options. The center's team of eight mental health social workers and interns will lose their jobs.

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E-Cigarettes Now More Popular Than Cigarettes Among MN Teens

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Jonny Williams via Creative Commons
E-cigs are exploding in popularity among teens


In the midst of a historic decline in teen tobacco use, e-cigarettes surpassed cigarettes in popularity among Minnesota teens.

A recently released state Department of Health survey celebrated the largest ever drop in tobacco use by middle and high school students, but warned against e-cigarettes' explosion in popularity because of nicotine's harmful effects on the adolescent brain.

See also: E-cigarette shop owner compares vaping to farting

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Convenience Stores Say Tobacco Taxes Are Killing Them

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Emily Eveland for City Pages
Minnesota stores are selling less of these. Is that good or bad? Depends who you ask.
You have to consider the source, but a new study funded by a consortium of the Minnesota Wholesale Marketers Association, a bunch of gas stations, and big tobacco finds that the increased cigarette and tobacco taxes that went into effect last year are having a devastating impact on businesses.

The tax, which increased the cigarette excise tax by 130 percent and the tax on other tobacco products from 70 percent of the wholesale price to 95 percent, has cost 1,100 jobs, resulted in a 50 percent decrease in tobacco sales along Minnesota's borders, and decreased non-tobacco product sales by $38 million.

See also:
A Smoker's Manifesto: 11 Reasons to Revoke the University's Tobacco Ban


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Ebola Travel Ban Becomes Divisive Issue in Franken/McFadden Race

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A year ago, who would've thought Ebola, of all things, would emerge as a central issue in Al Franken's reelection bid?

It has. During a WCCO TV debate yesterday, Franken and his Republican challenger, Mike McFadden, spent over seven minutes going back and forth about what the appropriate response to the virus is.

See also:
No, the University of Minnesota Isn't Saying Ebola Is Suddenly Airborne


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No, the University of Minnesota Isn't Saying Ebola Is Suddenly Airborne

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CDC Global

As worries over the Ebola virus have grown, the crazy stories have popped up right beside it (need we mention the ridiculous Ebola zombie hoax?). But a new one has surfaced, and it sounds just realistic enough to maybe be true.

"EBOLA TRANSMITTED BY AIR," reads one headline from the conservative site Breitbart. Political columnist George Will said the same thing. Interesting, both pinned their stories on the same source: the University of Minnesota. The meme has remained afloat in the weird world of the right-wing blogosphere, on sites like Town Hall and CNS News.

So should we be worried? In a word, no.

See also:
Dayton, Klobuchar, Franken Aren't Happy About Lack of Ebola Screenings at MSP Airport


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Patriot Health Convinced Customers to Buy Bogus Health Insurance, State Says

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Ringling College of Art & Design
Health companies want some of these

Imagine, if you will, that you're brand new to the scary world of searching for the right health insurance plan. Floods of brochures and online ads fly in front of your face, but you just want something that's affordable. After furious searching, you finally feel like you've found it: a plan that's not too expensive, and with enough coverage to help out most ailments.

But then you arrive at the doctor's office with a cold or a broken bone. And things aren't as they seem. That wonderful health insurance you thought was there for you? Turns out it wasn't health insurance at all, just a "discount plan" that might save you a bit of money but certainly isn't paying your bills. You're stuck handing over heaps of cash, with your "health insurance" barely making a dent.

See also:
Minnetonka Company Doesn't Offer Health Care Because Catholic Owner Opposes Contraception

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