"Activists on both sides of the issues see the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as pivotal to the larger debate. Abortion-rights backers say the ban is a first step toward trying to outlaw all abortions. Even some supporters of the ban say that if it is upheld, they could then move on to try to outlaw the far more common D&E procedure, whose description is nearly as unpleasant as that of the D&X.
The court could also use the law to address the 'health' exception currently required for all abortion restrictions. Abortion foes say the current health exception upheld by the court is so broad -- encompassing mental health problems as well as physical ones -- that just about any abortion-procedure ban would have to be invalidated. But abortion-rights supporters say that without a health exception, women could be forced to carry to term fetuses with no chance at life, but whose birth could leave the pregnant women unable to carry a later pregnancy, or could exacerbate serious ailments such as diabetes."