The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case on whether a federal law banning a certain late-term abortion procedure is constitutional.
The justices Tuesday agreed to review an appellate court ruling that struck down the 2003 law that banned so-called partial birth abortions.
The lower courts declared the law unconstitutional because they said it did not provide an exception to the ban to protect the health of a pregnant woman.
The Bush Administration has appealed the ruling and is seeking to have the law reinstated.
The Supreme Court is considering the contentious issue of abortion following the installation of new Chief Justice John Roberts and new justice Samuel Alito.
At their confirmation hearings, Democratic Senators expressed concern that the nominees would make the Supreme Court too conservative on such issues as abortion.
Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in U.S. politics since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing the practice.
Anti-abortion activists in particular have denounced the procedure they call partial birth abortions, in which a doctor partially extracts a fetus and pierces and compresses the skull.