Michigan Republicans Are Such Delicate Flowers


Just when you thought the Republicans who run the Michigan state legislature couldn’t get any more ridiculous, they go and do this. They actually banned Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the House floor because she uttered the word “vagina” during debate on an abortion bill. Seriously.

Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs that pregnancy be aborted to save the life of the mother.

“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,'” Brown said Wednesday.

Brown’s comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn’t allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.

“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.”

Brown’s comments were published in Thursday’s Detroit News.

Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, determined Brown’s comments violated the decorum of the House, said Ari Adler, spokesman for the Republican majority.

“If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” Brown asked Thursday at a hastily called Capitol press conference. “What language should I use?”

Brown noted “vagina” is the “medically correct term.”

“We’re all adults here,” she said.

Apparently not. They also banned another female legislator from speaking:

House Republicans also wouldn’t let state Rep. Barb Byrum speak on the House floor today.

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.

“If we truly want to make sure children are born, we would regulate vasectomies,” Byrum told reporters Thursday.

Those poor male legislators must be protected against such harsh words lest they get a terrible case of the vapors.

Comments

  1. kyoseki says

    I’m immediately reminded of the stoning scene from Life of Brian, except instead of “Jehovah!” he’s shouting “Vagina!”

  2. Who Knows? says

    Describing these clowns as “Delicate flowers” didn’t really come to mind when I read this at “No Country for Women.”

  3. says

    They’re big strong manly men when they want to use their clout and get votes. It’s when they meet candid, rational opposition that they turn into delicate flowers who can’t withstand the use of magical taboo words.

    I find it really disturbing that there are people who can’t recognize cowardice when a wingnut engages in it.

  4. eric says

    They should just cut to the end of the movie: while the republicans control the house, no non-republican (and no republican holding a view different from the majorty of republicans) will be allowed to speak.

  5. TX_secular says

    Maybe she should have used the term, “va-ja ja”…keep the discourse on a suitable level and all. :(

  6. Phillip IV says

    It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.

    Yeah, vaginas are clearly something that should only be discussed (and decided upon) in exclusively male company. Although I would be surprised if Rep. Callton really calls it a ‘vagina’ when he’s hanging out with his buddies, out of earshot of females.

  7. Skip White says

    How in the hell is the medical term for a part of a woman’s body so offensive that Rep. Callton wouldn’t want to say it in front of women? Or does he have the mentality of a 10 year-old boy who giggles whenever bodily functions are discussed?

  8. d cwilson says

    It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.

    Yeah, must keep up the illusion that girlie parts are a complete mystery, especially to women.

  9. Reginald Selkirk says

    I can’t think of any circumstances where a vasectomy could save a man’s life. Can someone come up with a scenario?

  10. Cliff Hendroval says

    Well, if I had had children, I’m sure I’d have killed myself by now.

  11. says

    Reginald Selkirk “I can’t think of any circumstances where a vasectomy could save a man’s life. Can someone come up with a scenario?”
    It does when the procedure stops him from legislating for an afternoon.

  12. ArtK says

    @ Skip White

    Yes, he is 10 years old.

    I have a friend who teaches middle school science (so 11-14yo kids.) One of the things she does before starting the sex unit is tell the kids to go home and say “vagina” and “penis” in front of a mirror until they can do it without giggling.

  13. Abby Normal says

    Of course they had to shut her up. Otherwise they might have learned something. Like the good book says do not suffer a woman to teach.

  14. modus says

    ArtK “One of the things she does before starting the sex unit is tell the kids to go home and say ‘vagina’ and ‘penis’ in front of a mirror until they can do it without giggling.”
    But if they do that three times, one will appear!

  15. cactusren says

    @ Reginald Selkirk: there isn’t really a case where a vasectomy would be life-saving. This ammendment is following in the steps of a previous bill (in Georgia, IIRC). The Democrats who wrote it never wanted or expected the legislation to pass–it’s simply meant to point out the misogyny of anti-abortion/anti-birth control legislation, by trying to get men to think about how they would feel if they couldn’t make their own choices about their reproductive health. It’s a snarky sort of strategy, and while I like it as a thought experiment, I’m not sure how I feel about legislatures introducing bills that clearly should not be made into laws. (Though I imagine this might happen more than I realize…does anyone know of similar situations?)

  16. D. C. Sessions says

    Is this another one of those Michigan bills that miraculously passed the House with 66 votes in favor and immediately gaveled as immediate effect?

  17. arakasi says

    But if they do that three times, one will appear!

    Vagina!
    Vagina!
    Vagina!

    {still waiting}
    Damnit

  18. dean says

    They aren’t all faint. Representative Frank Foster apparently has no objection to using “cunt”.

    The story is that he was visiting a home in Lansing and objected to a woman who was mowing her lawn. The final bit of the story (link below)

    He then walked away, asking Smith-Heck, “Are you going to apologize?” She responded, “For mowing my lawn?” Foster said, “So you’re not going to apologize”? She repeated, “For mowing my lawn?” Foster yelled across the street, “You’re a cunt!”

    http://eclectablog.com/2012/05/more-misogyny-in-the-michigan-house-of-representatives-rep-frank-foster-calls-union-nurse-a-ct.html

  19. shay says

    Hmm…maybe there are worse things than living in Illinois. Our politicians are crooked as a dog’s hind leg but at least this kind of legislation rarely makes it out of committee.

  20. Michael Heath says

    D.C. Sessions writes:

    Is this another one of those Michigan bills that miraculously passed the House with 66 votes in favor and immediately gaveled as immediate effect?

    I’m not sure what you are referencing. The Michigan state senate won’t take this up until Sept. at the earliest. This bill would also require a signature from the governor to be made law, where Gov. Snyder hasn’t expressed his position.

  21. jakc says

    @cactusren
    The vasectomy provision was an amendment to a bill, and not a separate bill, but yes, that kind of thing happens all the time. Bills from minority party legislators rarely get out of committee, meaning that the only vote on an issue is going to be on an amendment. Minority party amendments aren’t going to pass, but are offered to make a point or to slow down the debate. The majority party sets the agenda, and they are rarely surprises on the floor. The majority will also at times block amendments from coming up if they don’t want to vote on it. Floor debates rarely change the minds of legislators. They are really more of a show. Offering an absurd amendment is a way to highlight a bad bill.

  22. axilet says

    @18: Oh man, are you serious. When I finished reading Ed’s blog post, I was thinking: “Wouldn’t it be hilarious (and thoroughly depressing) if one of those delicate pearl-clutching Repubs had called a woman by the c-word at any point in his life?” And whadya know…

  23. pilch62 says

    In Michigan, during all future showings of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, the word “vagina” will be dubbed over the word “ni” . . .

  24. dan4 says

    To be fair to the Michigan Republicans who took offense here, it was Brown’s ENTIRE COMMENT that drew the criticism from Michigan Republicans, not just the solitary word “vagina.” Saying something about being “interested in my vagina” is appropriate for a raunchy standup act by a female comedian or a line from, say one of the American Pie movies. For a legislator speaking on the House floor, not so much.

  25. leni says

    Mixed company? Is this asshat for real?

    Also, was that not the correct link or am I blind?

  26. John Phillips, FCD says

    dan4, considering the content was not sexual, but snark aimed at even more Republican bills making government so small it can fit in a vagina, I don’t see her being out of order. Then again, I am not a woman hating republican thinking that women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions about their reproductive health care.

  27. Taz says

    dan4 –

    Saying something about being “interested in my vagina” is appropriate for a raunchy standup act by a female comedian or a line from, say one of the American Pie movies. For a legislator speaking on the House floor, not so much.

    Bullshit. It was a completely appropriate response to what these asshole Republicans are doing.

  28. says

    After reading the piece about Foster calling the nurse a “cunt”, I googled him. As we all know the GOP’s “family values” hyprocrisy includes having their office holding members boast about their wives and children. Foster’s official bio and a half dozen other sources I looked at say nothing about him having a wife OR children.

    He’s had one job since he graduated college, working for his family’s company as the “business manager”. I’m guessing he’s in charge just like Ron Patimkin was in charge in “Goodbye Columbus”.

    If there was a “cunt” in the group at that tete-a-tete it was Foster.

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