As if Texas’s over-the-top regulation of abortion clinics in the name of “protecting women’s health” wasn’t ridiculous enough, enter the spectacularly misplaced skepticism of Justice Alito during oral arguments at the Supreme Court last week. While questioning the clinics’ counsel Stephanie Toti, Alito asserted, “There is very little specific evidence in the record in this case with respect to why any particular clinic closed.” This prompted an awesome rebuttal from Justice Kagan. From Dahlia Lithwick:

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So frustrated is Justice Elena Kagan by the conservatives’ repeated insistence that perhaps the clinics just coincidentally all closed within days of HB 2’s passage that she finally has to intervene. “Is it right,” she asks Toti, “that in the two­-week period that the ASC requirement was in effect, that over a dozen facilities shut their doors, and then when that was stayed, when that was lifted, they reopened again immediately?” Toti agrees. “It's almost like the perfect controlled experiment,” continues Kagan, “as to the effect of the law, isn’t it? It’s like you put the law into effect, 12 clinics closed. You take the law out of effect, they reopen?”

Here’s an argument I haven’t heard yet: given that the state’s requirements are medically unnecessary — there was no problem in the first place — it seems to me that women will face statistically greater risk of death or injury driving on Texas highways to get to a clinic 200 miles away than if their local clinic remained open. If Texas Republicans are so incredibly serious about protecting the safety of ladies, should that not factor into the equation? Not to mention the botched back-alley abortions, of course. Those never factor into the equation.

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That tweet from former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is here.

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