A Michigan State Rep. was blocked from speaking on the House floor yesterday after using the word ‘vagina’ while opposing a proposed anti-abortion bill the day before.
Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, was told that she was not allowed to participate in Thursday's debate because of her earlier ‘offensive comments’ and ‘unprofessional conduct’.
During Wednesday’s heated debate, Brown, spoke against a proposed bill which would further regulate abortions.
‘Wherever there’s a question of the life of the mother, or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother,' she said.
'The status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother. I have not asked you to adapt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adapt to yours?’
But what caused the most controversy were the closing words to Brown’s speech. ‘And finally, Mr Speaker,’ she said. ‘I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.’
Some Representatives applauded her impassioned statement but others did not take too kindly to her bold words.
'What she said was offensive,' state 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,' he said.
Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said the decision to bar Brown from speaking was not her reference to the female anatomy, but her conduct.
'My concern was the decorum of the House, not of anything she said,' Stamas told the newspaper. 'I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far yesterday.'
But Brown yesterday defended her decision to use the 'v-word'. 'If I can't say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?' Brown said during a Capitol press conference. 'What language should I use? We're all adults here.'
Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, was also prohibited from speaking on Thursday for her conduct during Wednesday’s debate.
The representative tried to introduce an amendment that would regulate vasectomies but was not allowed to speak. She protested and was declared 'out of order'.