House Republicans' laser-like focus on jobs and the economy took yet another detour today, with the GOP majority bringing the latest in a series of anti-abortion bills to the House floor.
The House on Thursday rejected a Republican bill that would impose fines and prison terms against doctors who perform abortions for the sole purpose of controlling the gender of the child, a practice known as "sex-selective" abortion. [...]"This is an important issue to the American people," [House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)] 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."
So, 158 days before Election Day, "jobs, jobs, jobs" is nice, but "sex-selective" abortion is "an important issue to the American people."
In this case, the bill, called the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), failed on a 246-168 vote. While 246 votes is a clear majority, Boehner brought this up on the suspension calendar, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
Opponents, including the vast majority of House Democrats, characterized the bill as a response to a manufactured controversy, with a legislative remedy that goes too far.
As Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) explained today, "The bill includes a provision that would allow a woman'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."
With this vote out of the way, the House can get back to the hard work of raising interest rates on student loans and not passing jobs bills.