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President Trump asks SCOTUS to block release of his tax returns; use of the death penalty is on the decline across the country; and a push to make nutrition part of the health-care debate.

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Former MA Gov. Deval Patrick is officially running for president, saying he can attract more Independents and moderate Republicans than other candidates.

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Hot Topics at DNC: Women's Health, LGBT Equality

PHOTO: DNC Women's Caucus. Photo by Stephanie Carroll Carson.
PHOTO: DNC Women's Caucus. Photo by Stephanie Carroll Carson.
September 5, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As they prepare to unite behind President Obama as their candidate, members of Democratic caucuses and others gathered Tuesday in Charlotte to advocate for issues important to their supporters.

At the Women's Caucus, hundreds of delegates discussed the need for access to health care, preventive health screenings and hot-button topics such as abortion and family planning.

Actress Ashley Judd was among those who shared her opinions at the podium about health care for women.

"Women have the right to be empowered with sex education. Family planning should be universal, accessible and given without shame."

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus also met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss such issues as same-sex marriage and domestic-partner benefits.

Minnesota state Sen. Scott Dibble, who is openly gay, told the LGBT Caucus he is hopeful about making advancements in rights of same-sex partners, but specifically mentioned the passage of the marriage amendment in North Carolina.

"It's gonna be a great year and I love the speaker from North Carolina who said, 'We didn't win, we move forward.' "

Following her speech to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, First Lady Michelle Obama was scheduled to speak at an LGBT luncheon today.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, spoke at the DNC Women's Caucus on Tuesday, saying she and other women embrace what "Obamacare" offers to them.

"Making sure that being a woman will never again be treated as a pre-existing condition - because we know Obama cares. We embrace the term, because we want a president in the White House who cares."

Obama's Affordable Care Act includes protection from being denied or dropped from insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and includes free preventive health screenings for women.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC