President Bush signed legislation banning so-called "partial-birth" abortion, but a judge issued a temporary restraining order against the law in Nebraska less than an hour later, citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion. The judge stopped short of prohibiting the new law from being enforced nationwide, saying his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit. Hearings also were being held in San Francisco and New York on similar challenges. The law, approved by the House and Senate late last month, prohibits doctors from committing an "overt act" designed to kill a partially delivered fetus and allows no exception if the woman's health is at risk or if the child would be born with ailments. The procedure, which usually involves puncturing the fetus' skull, is generally performed in the second or third trimester. The new law is similar to a Nebraska statute struck down by the Supreme Court three years ago and imposes the most far-reaching limits on abortion since the high court in 1973 established a woman's right to end a pregnancy. -- by the Associated Press
Bush signs abortion law, and challenges begin
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