The final vote was 246-168. Though a majority voted in favor of the bill, this particular proposal required a two-thirds majority to pass — supporters of the bill fell 30 votes short.
The proposal would have made it a federal crime to carry out an abortion based on the gender of the fetus. The measure takes aim at the aborting of female fetuses, a practice more common to countries such India and China, where there is a strong preference for sons, but which is also thought to take place in the U.S.
The White House and Democratic lawmakers opposed the bill out of concern that it could end up subjecting doctors to strict punishment, suggesting the law would be difficult to follow.