Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West) has been prohibited from speaking on the House floor after she used the word "vagina" while speaking out against a proposed anti-abortion bill.
HB 5711 — one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the nation — passed earlier this week by a wide margin. A companion bill that seeks to ban all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape and incest, has been tabled.
Concluding a speech protesting the legislation, Brown said, "And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'" The remark led to an uproar, and Brown was gaveled out of order for "comparing the abortion legislation to rape," according to House GOP spokesman Ari Adler.
The following day, Brown found herself barred from speaking about an unrelated bill.
"My concern was the decorum of the House, not of anything she said," said Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R-Midland). "I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far yesterday."
Other Republicans were more candid about their issue with Brown's use of certain language. "What she said was offensive," Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) said. "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, meanwhile, stood by her remarks, telling reporters vagina was the "anatomically medically correct term," adding "if they are going to legislate my anatomy, I see no reason why I cannot mention it."
Another state legislator found herself on the wrong side of Republicans after attempting to introduce an amendment that would ban vasectomies unless a life was at risk. "If we truly want to make sure children are born, we would regulate vasectomies," Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) told her colleagues.