June 15th, 2012
09:16 AM ET
10 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. texasgreenacres

    men have rights and women have rights.Like it or leave it both have rights but those rights should be equal and balanced.not one sided in favor to one and not including the other.women can appreciate this type of approach,Hey and guys before you get all in a uproar, don't forget how you got here? remember it was mom not dad that gave birth to your lame behind.

    June 15, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Val

    It wasn't the word "vagina" but the context in which she used it in in referring to her own vagina and telling him that she was flattered that he was interested in hers. That goes beyond the bounds of decency in political correctness and she should know that. She doesn't just represent herself, she is an elected delegate and when speaking for others she should show more decorum and respect for her position. She was trying to get their attention and get their attention she did, in a bad way. She has no right to complain about that now as that was her CHOICE. Let this be a lesson that if you want to make a point that it must be made in a thoughtful, intelligent and forthright way that people want to hear, not like some uncouth barfly. She will be lucky if she is able to shake this off and get re-elected.

    June 15, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Amazing

    This is childish and petty. These women have a right to speak them minds. They did not use any vulgar language. Theyare correct about the hyprocisy of Republicans. If they are so concern about life, then why do they allow men to vacsectomies? This is the knid of behavior you can expect with Romney and his cronies!

    June 15, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. paulcat

    All we need to do is clean house with all republicans. Starting with congress on down to local government. Only then will people began to stop acting stuip. They can't act like this if you stop voting them in.

    June 15, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. AKsteve

    I once got sent to the principals office for saying I had to "pee" instead of saying bathroom. I think my principal was a republican too.

    June 15, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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