"We shouldn't wait any longer to ban this barbaric and socially unhealthy practice," he said.

Pitts spoke shortly before the House was scheduled to start work on suspension bills, including the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 3541. That bill would subject healthcare providers to prison sentences and fines for performing abortions based on the sex of the child, and require health professionals to notify authorities when they believe this has happened.

House Republicans are bringing up the bill under a suspension of House rules, which will require a two-thirds vote for passage. The bill is expected to fail due to opposition from Democrats, who argue that the measure would impose unnecessary hurdles to women's right to abortion.

But Pitts, like other Republicans, said the bill is needed to stop using abortion as a way to select the sex of the child. He cited a recent hidden-camera report showing Planned Parenthood offering advice to a couple about how to choose the sex of their baby.

"If you talk to most expectant couples, you'll hear a common refrain: 'We don't care if it's a boy or a girl, we just want a healthy baby,' " Pitts said. "Unfortunately, there are exceptions. Some couples will do anything to choose the sex of their child. In the majority of these cases, boys are favored and girls are aborted."