Michigan Lawmaker Banned From Speaking After Saying 'Vagina' in Abortion Legislation Debate

Published on
by
Common Dreams

Michigan Lawmaker Banned From Speaking After Saying 'Vagina' in Abortion Legislation Debate

Censored Rep. Lisa Brown: “I look at it as a war on women when our voices aren’t being allowed to be heard.”

by
Common Dreams staff

Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown (D) has been blocked from speaking on the House floor in an apparent attempt to punish her for using the word "vagina" on Wednesday during a debate on legislation on reproductive rights.

Speaking out against anti-abortion bills on the floor, Brown said “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina,” she said on the House floor. 'But no means no.'"

“I was either banned for being Jewish and rightfully pointing out that HB 5711 was forcing contradictory religious beliefs upon me and my religion,” Rep. Brown said in a Thursday press conference. “Or is it because I used the word ‘vagina,’ which is an anatomically, medically correct term?”

Rep. Barb Byrum was also banned from speaking.

A spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger stated, "Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas has informed Minority Floor Leader (Kate) Segal that Reps. Brown and Byrum will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives."

Brown added speaking to TPM today, “I look at it as a war on women when our voices aren’t being allowed to be heard.”

Republican fear of the word is not limited to Michigan. "What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company."

Sarah Ditum writes in New Statesman, "As the Michigan incident tells us, those who want to control women's bodies also want to treat that body as an obscenity."

* * *

Video uploaded from ProgressMichigan June 13, 2012: Rep. Lisa Brown speaks out against House attack on women's health

* * *

The Rachel Maddow Show: Female legislators silenced after speaking out against Michigan abortion bill

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

* * *

* * *

* * *

MLive.com: Rep. Lisa Brown questions whether her Jewish faith led to being banned from House floor debate

LANSING, MI – State Rep, Lisa Brown says she’s wondering if stating her Jewish faith led to her being banned from speaking on the House floor – or whether it was her use of the word “vagina.”

Brown, D-Bloomfield Hills, and state Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, ripped state House leaders, who prevented them from speaking on the House floor after comments made during debate Wednesday on a series of bills concerning abortion.

“I was either banned for being Jewish and rightfully pointing out that HB 5711 was forcing contradictory religious beliefs upon me and my religion,” Brown said in a Thursday press conference. “Or is it because I used the word ‘vagina,’ which is an anatomically, medically correct term?” [...]

“These lawmakers, predominantly men, have no problem passing legislation about my vagina. But I say its name, and they get outraged. I’m outraged that this legislative body wants to dictate what I can do, but what I can say.”

More in: