Taxpayer funds don't go toward abortion — which makes this move by Congress a bit weird.

Making the Hyde Amendment permanent would be a big step backward for reproductive rights.

For the past 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has prevented federal tax dollars from paying for abortions.

While not a law, the amendment has become a routine addition to federal budgets — and a thorn in the side of reproductive rights advocates. For the most part, however, members of both parties have accepted its place in American politics and haven't put up too much of a fight so long as it remains merely a rider to be renewed on an annual basis and not a permanent law.

Pro- and anti-choice activists square off outside the Supreme Court in 2005. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.


On Tuesday, the House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would elevate the Hyde Amendment's status from budget rider to law.

On Jan. 13th, Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. It's expected the full House will convene to vote on the bill — which is likely to pass, as it did in 2013 and 2015.

Less certain, however, is what chance the bill stands in the Senate, where it has been voted down after passing the House in each of the previous two attempts. To make it through the Senate, 52 Republicans and eight Democrats would have to join forces to put the bill on the president's desk.

Rep. Chris Smith. Photo by Kris Connor/ Getty Images.

Should it pass both chambers of Congress, President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, fulfilling a campaign promise.

In September, Trump made a series of pledges aimed at courting anti-choice activists. Among those promises were plans to nominate "pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court," sign the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law, defund Planned Parenthood "as long as they continue to perform abortions," and — yes — to make the Hyde Amendment permanent.

Early in the campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spoke out against the Hyde Amendment.

Trump signs an executive order designed to restrict aid to nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion and family planning services. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

You may be asking yourself why it matters whether or not something that's been in effect for 40 years becomes permanent or not — and that's fair.

The truth is the Hyde Amendment, while a consistent part of American life in the post-Roe v. Wade world, disproportionately harms the 15.6 million low-income women who rely on Medicaid for their health care. By making the prohibition permanent, it becomes significantly more difficult to overturn (which would, again, require a majority in the House, a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate, and the signature of the president to change).

Planned Parenthood warns the Hyde Amendment may result in women foregoing necessities like electricity, heat, and food in order to save funds to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket. Additionally, it may lead to dangerous attempts to self-induce an abortion.

Making the Hyde Amendment permanent would be a step backward for reproductive rights. Call your representative and senators and urge them to vote "no" on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act.

Family
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

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Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

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Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

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Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

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Well Being