1. CONTENTIOUS

    House Mulls Sex- Based Abortion Ban

    **ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, FEB. 18** Doctor Salim Chami performs ultrasound ecography on a patient who did not want to give her name at an abortion clinic in Madrid on Jan. 30, 2008. Spaniards have digested major change without a hiccup in recent years, embracing same-sex marriage, fast-track divorce and other reforms at odds with their Catholic roots. But one issue has remained too sensitive to touch, abortion. And in recent weeks it has flared into a dispute so nasty it prompted what organizers call the world's first strike by abortion clinics. Staffers have been arrested, a judge has interrogated 25 women who underwent abortions and only last week thousands more women swarmed a Madrid courthouse in a show of solidarity, shouting that they, too, had terminated a pregnancy and demanded a change in the law to provide abortion on demand. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

    Victor R. Caivano / AP Photos

    A ban on gender-based abortions was up for vote in the House on Thursday. The legislation that would make it a federal crime to carry out an abortion based on the sex of a fetus. The measure is aimed at abortions of female fetuses, a common practice in Asian countries such as India and China that is also believed to take place in the U.S. The bill is mainly backed by Republicans who see the vote as an issue of gender bias at a time when Democrats are accusing the GOP of waging a war on women. Meanwhile, opponents of the law, including the Obama administration, Democrats, and abortion-rights activists, argued that the bill only further limits a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and could potentially lead to racial profiling of Asian-Americans.

    Read it at The Associated Press