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Politics Today: Birth Control Controversy, "The Colbert Report" Suspended, And More

Tracy Bloom |
February 16, 2012 | 1:07 p.m. PST

Depurty Editor

Dems Storm Out Of One-Sided Birth Control Hearing: You would think a hearing about birth control and religious liberty would include women. Or heck, even a woman. But actually, you would be entirely incorrect. The House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on religious liberty and the birth control rule held today - outrageously enough - included not one single woman. Why? Because Republican Chairman Darrell Issa would not allow a woman to testify in support of the Obama administration's contraception rule. What the Democrats wanted to know? Where are the women. Watch Rep. Carolyn Maloney's impassioned plea:

Oklahoma Senate Passes Personhood Bill: An anti-abortion bill that would define the beginning of life as at the moment of conception has passed in the Oklahoma senate. It's unclear what exactly the bill would do, however. According to the Oklahoman, "The practical effect of the bill is open to question. Its author, Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, said it's merely a statement that Oklahoma is 'pro-life.' He labeled as fear mongering contentions by opponents that it could lead to restrictions on abortions, birth control, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research." The bill passed 34-8, with some Democrats voting in favor of it. The bill is also expected to pass in the House.

Virginia Passes Abortion Cuts: And in more reproductive health news - two of the country's most restrictive abortion bills have passed in the Virginia House, the Associated Press reported. One of the bills is similar to the Oklahoma "personhood" bill that states life begins at conception. Another bill that would mandate a woman have a "transvaginal ultrasound" before undergoing an abortion also passed through the Virginia House. Suffice to say, today was not a good day for the pro-choice movement in this country.

GOP Presidential Debate Cancelled: CNN has cancelled a GOP debate that was to be held on March 1 in Georgia after Mitt Romney and Ron Paul decided not to participate. In a statement, CNN said: “Mitt Romney and Ron Paul told the Georgia Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party and CNN Thursday that they will not participate in the March 1 Republican presidential primary debate. Without full participation of all four candidates, CNN will not move forward with the Super Tuesday debate. ” Georgia and 9 other states are set to hold their primaries on March 6.

Stephen Colbert Out: "The Colbert Report" has been temporarily suspended. There was some mystery earlier as to why the late-night program had been abruptly cancelled for the rest of the week, but it now appears the show will be out of commission because of an illness in the Comedy Central host's family. According to The Huffington Post, Stephen Colbert's mother is seriously ill.  “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the show will air repeat episodes on Wednesday, February 15 and Thursday, February 16,” Comedy Central's Senior VP for Communications Steve Albani told Politico, not offering up any other details. HuffPost reported that production on the show would resume once Colbert can return.



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