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Lawsuit seeks to block Illinois abortion coverage expansion

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Abortion opponents in Illinois filed a lawsuit on Thursday to block a recently approved law expanding state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income Medicaid recipients and state workers.

The lawsuit was filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court on behalf of taxpayers by the conservative Thomas More Society, along with some state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups.

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It asked a judge to block state funding for the law, arguing that the state failed to set aside up to $30 million in the budget to pay for abortions. The lawsuit also argued that the law could not take effect until June 2018, instead of January, because of when it was approved.

“The people of Illinois are opposed to taxpayer funded abortion, especially with the terrible financial state that Illinois is in,” Peter Breen, a Republican state lawmaker and an attorney for the Thomas More Society, said on Thursday.

He argued that the state would have to pay for up to 30,000 abortions a year.

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill in September, upsetting many conservatives.

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“I do not think it’s fair to deny poor women the choice that wealthy women have,” Rauner said at the time.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois supported the law, saying it would keep women from being denied abortion coverage just because they were on Medicaid or worked for the state. Medicaid is a government healthcare program for the poor and disabled.

Ed Yohnka, the ACLU’s director of public policy and communications, on Thursday rejected the lawsuit’s contention that lawmakers needed to designate specific funds.

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“That’s like saying the General Assembly has to appropriate money for knee replacements,” he said.

About 15 other states allow Medicaid to pay for abortion, including some required by courts, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Illinois was the first state in decades to voluntarily lift a restriction on such services.

Illinois’ Medicaid program has previously covered abortions in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life or health is threatened.

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The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions. The law would also allow state employees to have the procedures covered under state health insurance.

The law’s passage by the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature came after some other U.S. states, which are controlled by Republicans, have sought in recent years to tighten regulations on abortion clinics and forced closures in Texas and Kentucky.


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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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‘Brett Kavanaugh’s penis is back in the news’: Bill Maher breaks down the latest Supreme Court scandal

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher broke down the latest scandal facing the United States Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh's penis is back in the news," Maher said. "The New York Times kind of tripped over his dick on this one."

Maher suggested the report reflects poorly on Kavanaugh's manhood.

"The problem is the woman, the victim, has no recollection of it happening -- which isn't really a ringing endorsement of his penis," Maher said.

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