House rejects bill penalizing doctors for sex-selective abortions
The House on Thursday rejected a Republican bill that would impose fines and prison terms on doctors who perform abortions for the sole purpose of controlling the gender of the child, a practice known as sex-selective abortion.
The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), H.R. 3541, was turned away in a 246-168 vote. While that's a clear majority of the House, Republicans called up the bill under a suspension of House rules, which limits debate and requires a two-thirds majority vote, and in this case, would have required more support from Democrats.
Twenty Democrats voted for the bill, while seven Republicans opposed it. The bill needed roughly 30 more votes for approval.
votes are normally used for non-controversial bills, but the GOP-backed
bill was clearly controversial. Republicans have occasionally put
controversial bills on the suspension calendar in an apparent attempt to
show that Democrats oppose certain policies.
In some cases, Republicans have rescheduled these bills for regular consideration after they have failed, allowing for passage by a simple majority. But Republicans gave no sign that they would try again with PRENDA.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that the issue of stopping sex-selective abortion is important enough that the would try again, but he was not specific.