Who Won in Tuesday’s Abortion Vote?

We know who lost: women. But who won, politically? Republicans or Democrats? Barry, at Alas! a blog has a series of intriguing posts on the latest “partial-birth” abortion ban and abortion in general. (For your reading convenience, Barry also has the posts indexed here.)

In this post, Barry makes a decent case that this will harm Republicans by shifting the debate to the first trimester, where abortion rights have much stronger support. If this happens, Republicans will face a tough choice: anger their fundamentalist base (they have the numbers and the motivation) or suburban supporters (they have the money):

What’s going on is, “partial-birth” abortion is a great issue for Republicans, and they donÂ’t want it to go away. It lets Republican Congresscritters show their pro-life base that they’re fighting the good fight and trying to save babies. It lets them portray Democrats who favor banning late-term abortions, but who want a health exemption, as extremist baby-killers. And by concentrating their fire on “partial-birth” abortions, the Republicans get to avoid dealing with the controversial and electorially dangerous issue of first-trimester abortions.

You see, as long as the fight against “partial birth” abortion consumes pro-life attention, Republican politicians get a pass from proposing any serious legislation attacking first-trimester abortion rights in the states. And that’s very important to the GOP, because a serious fight against first-trimester abortions would be terrible for the Republicans; it would not only galvanize Democrats, it would create a serious split in the Republican party between pro-life and pro-choice Republicans.

There’s a lot more at Alas.