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 defeated 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 to pass. In this case, it would have required more support from Democrats.

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Twenty Democrats voted for the bill, while seven Republicans opposed it. The bill would have needed 30 more yeas to pass.

Suspension votes are normally used for noncontroversial bills, but the GOP-backed measure was clearly controversial. Republicans have occasionally put controversial bills on the suspension calendar in order to highlight 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 BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio) indicated that the issue of stopping sex-selective abortion is important enough that they would try again, but he was not specific.


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"This is an important issue to the American people," John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE said to reporters off the floor. "This type of sex selection most Americans find pretty repulsive, and our members feel strongly about it. That's why it is being brought to the floor."

During debate on the bill Wednesday, Republicans said the bill is consistent with the broader U.S. position that sex-selective abortion should be condemned around the world.

"In 2007, the United States spearheaded a U.N. resolution to condemn sex-selective abortion worldwide," said Rep. Trent FranksTrent FranksGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Debt-ceiling gambit stirs GOP debate GOP rep shares story of brother with Down syndrome, condemns abortions MORE (R-Ariz.), the sponsor of the bill. "Yet, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are the only advanced country left in the world that still doesn't restrict sex-selective abortion in any way."

While some Democrats made it clear that they oppose sex-selective abortion, they indicated that they oppose the bill's enforcement provisions, which they said would put in place an unacceptable limit on women's rights to choose abortion.

"We can all agree that women should not choose to terminate a pregnancy based solely on gender, but this bill criminalizes a legal procedure," Rep. Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciGore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Dems to Mattis: Don't delay transgender enlistment policy Washingtonians take center stage at Will on the Hill MORE (D-Ore.) said Thursday afternoon.

"The bill includes a provision that would allow a women's husband or parents, by merely alleging that an abortion is because of gender, to seek injunctive relief to prevent the doctor from performing abortion procedures, sending an incredibly private and personal decision into the courts," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) added Thursday.

"It is another Republican intrusion into a woman's right to choose," said Rep. Jim McDermottJim McDermottLobbying World Dem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' Dem to Trump on House floor: ‘Stop tweeting’ MORE (D-Wash.) of the GOP bill on Wednesday. "Women should be able to make such sensitive and private decisions with their families, their doctors and their god, free from the fear of the police."

Republicans voting against the bill were Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse votes to crack down on undocumented immigrants with gang ties GOP lawmaker taunts House conservatives: Trump’s base is not ‘small faction of obstructionists’ Overnight Finance: GOP plans to unveil tax framework in late September | Critical stretch for Trump tax team | Equifax CEO called to testify | Sanders unveils single-payer bill MORE (Mich.), Charlie Bass (N.H.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Robert Dold (Ill.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), and Ron Paul (Texas).

Democrats voting for it were Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Jerry Costello (Ill.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems Trump having dinner with Schumer, Pelosi on Wednesday MORE (Ind.), John GaramendiJohn GaramendiLawmakers mark Women’s Equality Day .6 billion for a wall? Let’s spend it on a sure thing instead: the Coast Guard Coast Guard OKs kayakers on river near Trump's Virginia golf course MORE (Calif.), Tim Holden (Pa.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.), Jim MathesonJim MathesonTrump's budget targets affordable, reliable power Work begins on T infrastructure plan New president, new Congress, new opportunity MORE (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick RahallNick RahallLikely W.Va. Senate GOP rivals spar in radio appearances West Virginia is no longer Clinton country Solution needed: Rail congestion is stifling economic growth MORE (W.Va.), Silvestre Reyes (Texas), Mike Ross (Ark.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.).