Supreme Court maintains ban on partial-birth abortion procedure

WASHINGTON, April 18-For the first time since the courts established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, the Supreme Court's conservative majority handed anti-abortion forces a victory on Wednesday in a decision that bans a specific controversial abortion procedure.

The procedure at issue, labeled as partial-birth abortion by its opponents, involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman's uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.

The law does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion but does not give doctors a choice in the course of their practice. Doctors who violate this law face up to two years in federal prison. The law allows the procedure to be performed only when a woman's life is in danger.