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Illinois establishes abortion as ‘fundamental right’

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The governor of the US state of Illinois on Wednesday enacted a law establishing a “fundamental right” to abortion and removing old laws that criminalized the procedure.

The Illinois law was passed in response to a wave of bans and restrictions approved in other states, and Governor JB Pritzker hailed it as “a beacon of hope in the heart of this nation.”

The law repeals criminal penalties on abortion providers, codifying what had already been de facto law through court rulings.

The measure also requires private health insurance companies in the state to cover abortion procedures.

“We are building a firewall around Illinois to protect reproductive access for everyone,” state representative Kelly Cassidy, one of the law’s chief sponsors said.

Pritzker, a Democrat, said the added legal protections are necessary in the event that the US Supreme Court rules in the future to impose new abortion limits.

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“Those opposed to women’s reproductive rights are emboldened,” the governor said, “And their hopeful eyes are on the highest court in the land.”

It comes as more conservative US states have enacted restrictions on abortion as part of a strategy to push the issue to the Supreme Court.

The top court upheld women’s right to abortion in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but anti-abortion forces hope to overturn it now that the court’s conservative majority has been strengthened with the addition of two justices appointed by President Donald Trump.

Alabama approved a near complete abortion ban in May, and six other states have tightened abortion access in recent months, making the procedure illegal when fetal heartbeat is detected — usually around the six-week mark, when many women are not aware they are pregnant.

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Pritzker said Illinois would be willing to accept “refugees from other states” where women might be denied abortion access.

In neighboring Missouri, for example, the fate of the last remaining abortion clinic is in the hands of a judge who is considering whether to allow it to continue operating.

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Michael Flynn’s legal team is making bizarre moves — signaling he’s still hoping for a Trump pardon

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When disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn recently hired a new firebrand lawyer, Sidney Powell, it suggested he could be maneuvering to change his legal strategy.

And on Monday, new signs emerged that his legal team is looking to shake things up. Flynn had another status hearing on Monday before Judge Emmet Sullivan as he awaits sentencing for charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In the hearing on Monday, Powell, who had been publicly critical of the Russia investigation before joining Flynn’s team, requested a security clearance to review documents in the case. This was a surprising move, because the government said that there was no classified information in the documents it had turned over to the defense.

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GOP aide — who was arrested for child pornography — jailed for 5 years

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Republican political consultant Carter Ballmann received a five-year prison sentence on Monday.

"A former state legislative aide will spend five years in prison for trying to elicit sex from someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but was actually an undercover detective," the Columbia Tribune reported. "U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Friday sentenced 25-year-old Carter Clinton Ballmann to five years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons on a single count of attempted receipt of child pornography."

At the time of his arrest, Ballmann served as an aide to Rep. Mark Matthiesen, a Republican of Maryland Heights, Missouri.

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Ben Stein: Black people have a ‘very deep attachment’ to feeling like ‘they’ve been victimized’

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On Monday's edition of Fox Business' "Trish Regan Primetime," conservative writer and actor Ben Stein complained about how African-Americans refuse to be grateful for what President Donald Trump is doing for them because they have an "attachment" to feeling like "they've been victimized."

"Let me ask you, though, Ben, in this environment, we're now looking at the lowest unemployment rate for black Americans in the history of the United States of America under none other than President Trump," said Regan. "Is any of that loyalty starting to shift? I mean, are traditional black Democrats saying, hey, maybe the Democratic Party has failed me? Maybe I need to rethink this?"

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Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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