The Partial-Birth Battle

[Ross] If you scroll through the hysterical posts about today's abortion decision on, say, TAPPED or any other lefty blog, you would think that pro-life types like myself must be over the moon with joy. In reality, I think the prevailing pro-life mood is captured by Doug Johnson of National Right to Life's bone-dry remark that "finally, it is illegal in America to mostly deliver a premature infant before puncturing her skull and removing her brain." In other words, it's great to have a victory, any victory, but in the grand scheme of the abortion debate, the pro-choice side is still beating us about forty (or maybe forty million) to one.

That's not how they see it, obviously. Brad Plumer, for instance, greeted the decision by remarking that "Anthony Kennedy turns out not to be the closet liberal many conservatives feared." Because declaring a ban on infanticide to be constitutional (maybe) totally makes up for selling the Constitution down the river on that whole Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, sweet-mystery-of-life business. Jacob Weisberg, meanwhile, has a piece up today about how the right "keeps winning" on guns and abortion, in which he writes:

... it should in theory be easier for liberals to require handgun registration than for conservatives to constrain abortion. In practice, the opposite is true. Conservatives have been remarkably successful in promulgating parental-notification laws, waiting periods, and bans on specific medical procedures. Gun-control advocates have tried to borrow from the right's playbook, promoting restrictions that sound reasonable and poll well, such as waiting periods, background checks, and bans on semiautomatic weapons with scary reputations. Yet they have accomplished little. The only meaningful federal restriction on handgun purchases, the Brady Bill, was considered a huge accomplishment when it finally passed in 1993 after a decade of lobbying. But thanks to the private-transfer or "gun show" loophole, about 40 percent of gun sales remain invisible to law enforcement, rendering the law's mandatory background checks easily avoidable.

Remarkably successful? Because a quarter-century after Roe vs. Wade, in a country where majorities are at least sympathetic to pro-life aims, pro-lifers have managed to pass some parental notification laws and ban exactly one (particularly barbaric) abortion procedure nationwide? Look at it this way: In twenty-five states, a teenager has to get the consent of one of their parents before they can terminate their pregnancy. In every state, it's illegal for minors to purchase any firearm. Does Weisberg really think pro-lifers are vastly closer to attaining their goal than gun control advocates?