House lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The 220-154 vote on Tuesday, which included 17 Democrats, would have sharply curtailed a policy that currently allows abortions in almost every circumstance.
But because of special rules that require two-thirds approval, the bill is dead and will not proceed to the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., authored the bill based on evidence that fetuses can feel pain as early as 20 weeks of gestational age.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (LINK), said those who opposed the bill, "are out of step with the majority of Americans who support protecting unborn children capable of feeling excruciating pain of an abortionist's instruments."
A recent poll by the National Right to Life Committee found that 63 percent of Americans support bans on abortions past the point at which unborn children can feel pain.
The same poll found that an overwhelming majority of women, 62-27 percent, would be more likely to support the bill.
"Tonight, 154 members of Congress endorsed an absolutist policy of abortion on-demand, for any reason, up to the moment of birth," Dannenfelser said.
"These Representatives come November, the SBA List will work to ensure that voters know which politicians failed to stand up against this brutality," she said.
Nine states have already passed similar bills, with the most recent legislation being upheld in Arizona.