Representative Lisa Brown was silenced on the Michigan State Capitol floor for mentioning the part of a woman’s anatomy that is directly related to the legislation being discussed:
The offensive term was “vagina,” the medically accurate term for the entrance to a woman’s reproductive organs. The legislation being discussed was abortion, a medical procedure involving the vagina. During a heated debate about a restrictive anti-abortion bill, Representative Brown said, “And finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'” Rep. Brown was not allowed to speak at a later date in discussions on a school retirement bill.
People found her statement offensive. I find the whole idea of legislating my physical health offensive. Can I ban all discussion of anti-abortion legislation? Unlike the largely male state and federal congressional representatives and senators, I do not wield that kind of power. The fact that they would use their power to silence a young woman who said nothing slanderous, false, or outside the realm of high school biology textbooks is reprehensible.
Rep. Brown has stated that she will recite Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues from the steps of the state Capitol in protest. I wish I could join her.
To add insult to injury, Detroit News reports that another congressional representative was silenced: “Byrum, D-Onondaga, caused a disturbance on the House floor Wednesday when she wasn’t allowed to introduce an amendment to the abortion regulations bill banning men from getting a vasectomy unless the sterilization procedure was necessary to save a man’s life.” Tit for tat, Mr. Speaker.
It may not be pretty, but it’s where we all came from. Face up to it: We have a right to speak about our bodies, especially if you are going to legislate them.