House Republicans seeking to further restrict abortions in North Carolina have passed a bill barring the procedures on the basis of the gender of the fetus.
Opponents say the measure will probably be challenged in court and would lead to ethnic discrimination if approved.
The House voted 79-40 on Tuesday in favor of the measure, which would direct hefty fines against physicians who knowingly perform what's called sex-selective abortions. The practice has been documented in parts of Asia where there's gender bias in favor of boys.
Abortion-rights and civil liberties groups have opposed the measure they say will set new obstacles between women and their physicians. Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh says the restriction would result in racial profiling of pregnant women.
The bill now heads to the Senate.