In Michigan’s legislature on Wednesday, an extraordinary exchange took place. To discuss an authoritarian repression of women’s sexual and reproductive rights — the state’s latest anti-abortion legislation — Rep. Lisa Brown took to the floor. She ended her remarks this way, and then the Speaker responded [starting 0:25]:
BROWN: Judaism believes that therapeutic abortion, namely abortions performed in order to preserve the life of the mother, are not only permissible but mandatory. The stage of pregnancy does not matter . .
. . Wherever there is 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. The status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother. I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours? And finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.
SPEAKER: [gavel strike] Members, I do ask you to respect the decorum of the House.
The Speaker gaveled and then rebuked Rep. Brown. Apparently, the normal word “vagina” is a grave insult to him. And also harrumph to self-appointed civilization, but to Republicans especially.
“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.”
Vagina, vajeena: there’s something wrong with these people. How roughly the six letters do strike them. Imagine, in Michigan, saying something truly Viking, like “pussy.” They’d surely hang you from the tallest flagpole, i.e. One For The Wangs.
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.
And armed with that, the documented utterance of “va-gi-na,” today they blocked Rep. Brown from speaking in the Michigan House.
“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.
Speak for yourself, ziiing.