Last week, a federal court struck down the two provisions of Texas’ sweeping antiabortion law that would have shuttered all but eight clinics in the state. It was happy news to take into the long weekend, but it was an admittedly narrow victory. As soon as the decision came down, Texas appealed it to the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a mixed record on the Texas law and similar restrictions in other states. (Remember when driving fast was offered up as a solution to hundreds of miles between Texans and their nearest clinic? That was the 5th Circuit. Remember when Mississippi was blocked from outsourcing its constitutional obligations by closing its last clinic? That was the 5th Circuit, too.) There were more than 40 clinics in Texas in 2013, but that number has dropped to 19 in the wake of the omnibus law. Things remain dire, even while this decision holds.

But something significant, even if small, is shifting. Doctors, major medical associations and reproductive rights advocates have long been clear about the safety of abortion and the underlying motives behind each new restriction, and now the the right’s thin (like, super-paper-thin) cloak of respectability is slipping as its claims about patient safety and medical standards are dispatched in courts and even inside the antiabortion movement. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog