Washington --- Abortion rights advocates, conceding that they are going to lose their battle against legislation banning so-called ''partial-birth'' abortions, are preparing for the next phase of their fight --- in the courts.
The Senate is expected to approve the bill in the coming week, the House is likely to follow suit and President Bush has indicated he would sign the bill when it reaches him.
While Congress has previously voted to restrict federal funds for abortions, this would be the first time it has voted to ban any form of abortion.
''The odds of being able to prevent it from going all the way to the White House are very tough,'' acknowledged Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), an abortion rights leader. ''It will be very difficult to stop it. It's likely that the next challenge will be in the courts.''