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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley signs bill banning abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on Wednesday signed into law a bill banning most abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is at risk, a spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday.

The South Carolina legislature passed the bill last week, the 17th U.S. state to approve such a ban.

A signing ceremony will take place on a date to be announced later, said Haley spokesperson Chaney Adams.

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The act, proposed last year in South Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, passed after it was stripped of exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape of incest.

Sixteen other states have passed similar laws as conservatives have chipped away at the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. Courts have overturned the bans in three states.

“I believe that life begins at conception and every step we can take to get back to that point is important,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Wendy Nanney, told Reuters. “In my view and many others’, it’s inhumane to subject that baby to pain at 20 weeks.”

Critics have said the name of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act goes against medical evidence showing that a fetus at 20 weeks cannot feel pain.

“This is a dangerous bill for South Carolina women …, made even more extreme by removing exceptions for victims of rape and incest,” Alyssa Miller, South Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement.

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The law allows abortions at the 20-week mark if the pregnancy endangers a mother’s life. It also includes a second exception if severe fatal abnormalities will mean the fetus would definitely die at full-term birth.

“The reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare and often takes place in complex and difficult situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available,” Miller said.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; editing by Karen Brooks and David Gregorio)

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Trump in 2014 fantasized about Obama falling apart emotionally if he got impeached: ‘He’d be a mess!’

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President Donald Trump has been angrily obsessing over House impeachment hearings -- just like he imagined former President Barack Obama would do if Republicans impeached him back in 2014.

Media Matters this week dug up an old "Fox & Friends" interview with Trump in which he mused over whether Obama secretly wanted to be impeached to boost his poll numbers, similar to what happened with former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

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Lawyers use belief in Trump far-right conspiracy theories for murder suspect’s insanity defense

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In the age of Trump, far-right conspiracy theories have gripped a large section of his base, birthing one of the most convoluted and bizarre rumors to date, namely the QAnon conspiracy theory -- which details a complicated and sometimes nonsensical plot by the "Deep State" against Trump and his supporters.

While most people regurgitate this particular brand of paranoia from behind their keyboards, some have been driven to commit acts of violence after being radicalized online, one example being a 29-year-old North Carolina man whose belief in "Pizza Gate" prompted him to walk into a D.C. pizzeria in 2016 and open fire with an assault weapon, believing he was rescuing children held hostage by a Hillary Clinton-run child sex trafficking ring.

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Trump’s undermining of efforts to fight Putin detailed in ex-CIA agent’s disturbing new column

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A recently retired CIA agent reveals that President Donald Trump was a "wild card" that prevented a full-scale effort to combat Russian aggression against the U.S. and its allies.

Marc Polymeropoulos, who retired from the agency in June, said in column posted at Just Security that the CIA issued an informal "call to arms" in the wake of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election, but those efforts were hampered by Trump's relationship with Russia's president Vladimir Putin.

"The Call to Arms required a whole-of-agency effort to counter the Kremlin," Polymeropoulos wrote. "It involved moving resources and personnel inside CIA. Most importantly, it required a change in mindset, similar to what occurred within the Intelligence Community after 9/11, that an 'all-hands-on-deck' approach was required."

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