U.S. House Republican leaders abruptly called off a vote on legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy following objections by rank-and-file lawmakers in the party, including women.
Instead, party leaders plan a House vote Thursday on a separate measure to ban federal funding for abortion.
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders have been unable to unify a party that now has control of both the House and Senate. Republicans are split among those who want to take a hard line on social issues and those who want to appeal to centrist voters and women.
“We should not be looking back into history,” said Representative Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, one of the Republican women who objected to a ban after 20 weeks. “We should be looking forward.”
After Republicans described their plans on the abortion legislation during a Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Democrat Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, a member of the panel, described a “meltdown” among Republicans.