LINCOLN, Neb. -- Twenty-six Republican members of Congress asked an appeals court yesterday to reinstate the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, struck down by a federal judge in September.
The House members sided with the US Justice Department, saying in a friend-of-the-court brief that the government has a ''vital and compelling interest in preventing the spread of the practice of abortion into infanticide."
At issue is a federal law banning a procedure doctors call intact dilation and extraction.
During the procedure, generally performed in the second trimester, a fetus is removed from the womb after its skull is punctured.
President Bush signed the ban last year, but it was not enforced because of legal challenges.
US District Judge Richard G. Kopf in Nebraska ruled in September that the ban interferes with a woman's right to an abortion and is unconstitutional.
Kopf's ruling followed decisions overturning the law by federal judges in New York and San Francisco. Those decisions also have been appealed.