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Arizona Senate approves bill blocking women from buying abortion coverage through Obamacare

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Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday passed a controversial measure blocking women from buying insurance that includes abortion coverage through the federal health care exchange.

The fiercely-debated bill also requires doctors to tell women they could possibly reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, a claim that critics called “junk science.”

The legislation was approved by an 18-11 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, with two Democrats voting for it. House lawmakers on Monday approved the bill by a 33-24 margin.

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It now goes to Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the bill. He has said he is opposed to abortion.

A governor’s spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

Supporters said the bill would prevent taxpayer money from paying for abortion services, as many individuals insured through the federally-run exchange receive government subsidies.

The measure exempts cases of incest, rape and life-saving situations from the coverage ban.

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Opponents countered, saying there was no proof that public dollars had been used for the elective procedures and calling the law an overreach.

The Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting the right to abortion whose reports are cited by both sides in the debate, says abortion coverage for those eligible for federal subsidies is limited to cases of rape, incest and life-endangerment.

During debate on the Senate floor, the most heated topic was the bill’s requirement that patients be told the effects of abortion pills may be undone by using high doses of a hormone.

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“This is junk science, this is quack medicine,” said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, a Phoenix Democrat. “There is absolutely no evidence anywhere… that supports this as a valid medical procedure.”

Backers say there is ample evidence that the reversal is possible if acted upon quickly, though they provided no peer-reviewed studies to support that claim.

“This is a great day for woman in Arizona who are considering getting an abortion to get all the facts they need and a great day for Arizona taxpayers,” said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative group that pushed for the measure.

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In December, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Arizona from enforcing a state law that restricts access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of RU-486, the so-called “abortion pill.”

(Editing by Curtis Skinner and Ryan Woo)

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14 people dead after Turkey fires on civilian convoy carrying journalists and aid workers

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A convoy carrying foreign journalists, civilians and State defense forces (SDF) traveling to traveling to Ras al-Ayn, NBC News reported Sunday.

So far, 14 are dead and 10 have been injured. The convoy was being guarded by armed men and was hit as it arrived in the city, a border town that Turkey has seized as they have been firing on the Kurds.

"We have heard from some of the journalists that were part of this convoy, a convoy that was a mix of journalists and civilians. A France2 reporter was inside the convoy. She tweets 'We were in the convoy targeted by Turkish forces and allies. Our team is fine, but some colleagues are dead.' No details on the colleagues," said NBC News reporter Erin McLaughlin. "We’re also waiting to hear from Turkish military officials about what unfolded there today."

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Trump wishes ‘Happy Birthday to the US Navy’ — with a picture of a Russian battlecruiser

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Adding to President Donald Trump's Russia obsession was an awkward misfire in a simple happy birthday message.

Sunday morning, before Trump set out on another day of golf, he tweeted a celebratory message to the U.S. Navy, which was officially established in 1775. Instead of showing photos of historic Navy ships or courageous sailors or decorated admiral, Trump posted a battleship, that isn't even an American ship.

According to Politico defense editor Dave Brown, the photo used in the graphic was Russian battlecruiser, the Pyotr Velikiy.

Democrats have alleged that Trump has an unnaturally close relationship to Russia, giving President Vladimir Putin whatever foreign policy demands he has.

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Former George W. Bush aide reveals why Republican talking points on Syria are complete crap

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During the weekend news shows, President Donald Trump's aides and allies took to televisions to justify the United States allowing Turkey to kill U.S. Kurdish allies.

"New Trumpist talking point," former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum began. "The only way to stop Turkey['s] massacre of Kurds is to go to war against Turkey."

That's an inaccurate framing, Frum explained.

"Turkey never believed that: that's why they asked Trump's permission to invade," he said. "All he had to do was say No. He said, Yes. Why? All the plausible answers are corrupt."

https://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/1183446682492637184

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