Friday, June 15, 2012


Apparently use of anatomical terms in the Michigan House of Representatives is "vulgar," "inappropriate," and "offensive." On Wednesday, State Representative Lisa Brown, a Democrat, said, "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'" 

[Video and discussion after the jump.]

Frankly, Rep. Brown was more polite than I would have been. Had I been on the floor, I might have said something more along the lines of "I'm flattered you're all so interested in my vagina, but it's mine, so fuck off." Of course, only some GOP house members claim it is the language that was offensive. Others had other objections. Chad Livengood at the Detroit News reports:
Speaker Pro Tem John Walsh, R-Livonia, gaveled Brown out of order for saying "no means no" — because it suggested Brown was comparing the abortion legislation to rape, House GOP spokesman Ari Adler said.

It turns out that making medical decisions that result in invasive and undesired consequences for other people  is a physical invasion, much like rape. Now, I do not say this to trivialize rape, and I am not justifying many rape comparisons that have been made in the past. But if we're going to compare something to rape, it makes sense to compare a physical invasion such as a forced pregnancy, rather than things like paying taxes or losing a video game. 

Also on Wednesday, Representative Barb Byrum was banned from speaking regarding her proposed amendment. She wished to introduce to the legislation which would ban vasectomies  "unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man's life."

Speaker of the House Jase Bolger made his disdain for female legislators and those with dissenting opinions when his spokesman Ari Adler told the Lansing State Journal, "Byrum was “gaveled down...for marching through the chamber and shouting like a small child throwing a temper tantrum.” The video the LSJ has embedded in the article clearly shows Representative Byrum making an attempt to be heard on her proposed amendment, but does not show any of the childish behavior Speaker Bolger claims was the purpose for her ejection. 

We can't let GOP legislators continue to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Representatives like Byrum, Brown, Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and others speak for my views. We must fight to protect ourselves in Michigan and across the country. 

No news yet on when the State Senate will vote on the bill; presumably after the summer recess. Let's use this time to flood our senators with mail, phone calls, and emails. If you live in Michigan and don't know who your senator is, you can look it up here. You can also check out the Political Shake's list of vagina fearers. And, of course, we need to make sure Governor Rick Snyder knows this legislation MUST be vetoed if it makes it to his desk. He is holding mobile office hours during June and July. You should check it out. If I can get the day off, I'll be going on Friday, June 22. 

Also noteworthy: 

Michigan Legislators do the Vagina Monologues on Monday, June 18.

An interesting discussion of this legislation over at the Daily Kos, along with the list of all six Democrats who voted for HB 5711.

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