Updated 2:40 p.m. ET
(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - House Republicans have voted against legislation to make it a federal crime to carry out gender-based abortions.
In a campaign year when Democrats are accusing Republicans of waging a war against women, Republicans sought to portray the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act as a women's rights issue.
But the legislation required a two-thirds majority for passage, because of procedural rules, and had no future in the Democratic Senate. The measure failed by a vote of 246 - 168, with 20 Republicans and all but seven Democrats opposing the measure.
The bill would have would make it a federal offense to perform or coerce a woman into a sex-selection abortion.
Opponents said it would subject doctors to criminal charges and discriminate against Asian-American women. Abortions of female fetuses are an issue in some Asian countries where families prefer sons.
Women's health groups applauded the vote. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said, "Rather than attacking a woman's right to choose, lawmakers with a sincere interest in addressing gender discrimination should support policies that work to combat the bias and stereotypes that continue to plague our society."