June 15th, 2012
09:16 AM ET
2 years ago

Michigan lawmakers barred from floor after 'vagina,' 'vasectomy' remarks

(CNN) - Two state representatives in Michigan were barred from speaking on the floor of the legislature in Lansing Thursday after colleagues deemed their language "failed to maintain the decorum" of the legislative body.

State Reps. State Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum, both Democrats, were arguing against proposed legislation that would enact new restrictions on abortions in Michigan, including provisions for new insurance requirements for abortion providers.

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Brown ended her floor speech by declaring: ""I'm flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."

Byrum chimed in, announcing the word "vasectomy" after Brown's speech, an apparent reference to proposed Democratic legislation that would counter the new abortion rules by placing similar restrictions on vasectomies.

A spokesman for the Republican Speaker of the House told the Detroit Free Press the two women would not be allowed to speak on the floor after their remarks.

They "will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives," the spokesman said.

He continued, "House Republicans often go beyond simply allowing debate by welcoming open and passionate discussion of the issues before this chamber. The only way we can continue doing so, however, is to ensure that the proper level of maturity and civility are maintained on the House floor."

In a web video, the Democratic leaders of Michigan's State Senate said the restrictions amounted to a "war on women."

"This is very real, and it comes at the highest levels of state government," State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Right now we are seeing our Republican colleagues in the House working to take away our rights to choose, our rights to health care, our rights to make decisions about our bodies. And just today, they're taking away our female colleagues rights in the House, they're right to speak on the floor."

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Filed under: Democrats • Michigan
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Welcome to Egypt. We, the Generals, have decided that the only women who will be allowed to speak in our legislature are those who read the scripts we prepare for them. If anyone tries to say anything else, we will refuse them the right to speak. Sound familiar? Sound scary?

    June 15, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. mcskadittle

    wow, pretty blatant restriction of their first amendment rights

    June 15, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, NOT a third term of BUSH's years of FAILURE

    Intruding into a woman's private part with an ultrasound probe is more decent than using the word?
    Ronald Reagan must be fuming at how Rush Limbaugh has destroyed the GOP.

    June 15, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Funny. So you can tell women what to do with their bodies and legislate not needed sonograms and instusive probes but not tell men to have vasectomies?
    What decorum? I think that legislation to have men not be able to procreate is way less intrusive than what a woman would have to go through to prevengtpregnancy since teapublikkans men and some of the repugnant women want to legislate our bodies and our bedrooms!!!

    June 15, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. J

    They should have used the acceptable Republican terms "wee wee" and "snip the pee pee".

    June 15, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. 1twinsfan

    Oh, how scandalous! They used the V words. Would it have been better had the used the C words? Let it be known, Republicans fear um, virginias and valedictorians.

    June 15, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. MrManhattan

    Maybe he'll force them to wear burkas in the future. American Taliban indeed!

    June 15, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Jim Gibbons

    More power to these women.

    June 15, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    This is plain stupid. The people who barred them should resign for being childish partisans.

    June 15, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. HenryMiller

    The GOP has a great opportunity this November, but they're going to blow it if they insist on attacking individual freedom.

    June 15, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If these comments were made during a debate about a health insurance bill or items relating to health or medical care, then it makes sense. It is appropriate for a converstation about abortion. I don't understand why their comments were gaveled down except that the men are uncomfortable with those parts of body.

    June 15, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. chilly g

    most republicans are just hateful and then say they doing god work, they really doing the work for the devil and
    they will burn in hell.

    June 15, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. CarolinaGirl

    I don't understand how this could happen. And I thought my state representatives are insane.

    June 15, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. steve

    More 2 bit dictatorship in MI from the GOP. People need to wake up.

    June 15, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. 4merRepubCT

    If the words that describe the procedures are so offensive, how will this be described in the legislation?

    June 15, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. The Dude

    When will the American people rise up against this blatant attack on women's rights? The time is now! Strike a blow against the empire! Vote democratic!

    June 15, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Gary Owen 2/7

    Ladies, you better look out. Next they will be coming after your right to vote.

    June 15, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. rs

    That's the GOP for you. They can't talk about it but they sure want to ban it. The Republican war on women, round 3, coming up.

    June 15, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Myviewis

    Vasectomy and abortions are legal, just pay for it yourself and you just took control of your body.

    June 15, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Southeast

    Wow, I guess they have already started. The take over. I guess we would be shot for voicing our opinion.

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    The Republican run state of Michigan has become a communist state. The Republicans have passed rules that pretty much take away democracy from voters. The Governer can decide to appoint a czar if a municipality is having issues or difficulties balancing their budget. This czar can come in and override the locally elected officials, answering to no one but the governer. All of the czar's decisions are final and not open to public debate. If the czar decides that he wants to sell town property to a private developer in order to raise revenue, then he can do so without any public debate from the local citizens. The local citizens are no longer represented by an elected official, only a czar who answers to no one but the governer. Michigan Republicans have turned the state into a communist state.

    June 15, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    State Reps. State Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum are right

    June 15, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    ha ha ha !!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Joi Gibson

    Biology, science – the things Republicans do not care to know about. All they know is women cannot make their own decisions so the big, brave Republican men must do so. How dare these women talk back – don't they know their place? Shame on the Michigan Republican Speaker for denying these two legislators their right to speak because he has a problem with proper terminology.

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!

    June 15, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. VOTE OUT THE GOP

    Republicans have done nothing but block and refuse to pass any legislation to help America and the economy. Instead they have passed 403 bills legislating the rights of women to have control of their bodies, their medical choices, their jobs, their ability to earn equal pay and now they are blocking our representatives that we voted to represent us, the right to speak because they used correct medical terms???

    VOTE OUT ANY MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN YOUR STATE 2012!!

    June 15, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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