A bill that would ban sex-selective abortions failed to muster enough support to pass the House Thursday following a contentious debate.

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.

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