“This is the real war on women”

That’s how one Republican described the vote this afternoon that will not ban abortions based on sex selection:

The House on Thursday fell short in an effort to ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus as Republicans and Democrats made an election-year appeal for women’s votes.

The legislation would have made it a federal crime to perform or force a woman to undergo a sex-based abortion, a practice most common in some Asian countries where families wanting sons abort female fetuses.

It was a rare social issue to reach the House floor in a year when the economy has dominated the political conversation, and Republicans, besieged by Democratic claims that they are waging a war on women, struck back by trying to depict the vote as a women’s rights issue.

“It is violence against women,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., of abortions of female fetuses. “This is the real war on women.”

The White House, most Democrats, abortion rights groups and some Asian-American organizations opposed the bill, saying it could lead to racial profiling of Asian-American women and subject doctors who do not report suspected sex-selection abortions to criminal charges.

“The administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision,” White House spokeswomanJamie Smith said in a statement. “The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”

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