SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal appeals court declared the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional Tuesday, saying the measure is vague and lacks an exception for cases in which a
woman's health is at stake.
The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appeals court in the country to hold the law to be unconstitutional.
President Bush signed the abortion ban in 2003, but it was not enforced because of legal challenges in several states.
The ban covers a procedure generally performed in the second trimester, in which a fetus is partially removed from the womb and the skull punctured.
Federal judges in New York and Nebraska also have ruled the ban unconstitutional. The Nebraska ruling was upheld in July by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.