Yesterday, Michigan Representative Lisa Brown dared to say the word "vagina" during an intense debate over a new state law that would criminalize all abortions after 20 weeks with absolutely no exceptions and place new regulations on providers, because no antichoice bill is complete without a completely unnecessary operational restriction or two.
In short: Brown bravely used the word "vagina" while discussing vaginas. Here's the now infamous line that got her indefinitely barred from speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives: "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no." After Brown's puritanical punishment made national headlines, scored her a spot on The Rachel Maddow Show and got #vagina trending on Twitter, some Republicans are claiming that it wasn't actually the word "vagina" that did Brown in.
"My concern was the decorum of the House, not of anything she said," Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, who ultimately decided to ban Brown, told The Detroit News. "I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far yesterday," he said. "It has nothing to do with the word vagina," House GOP spokesman Ari Adler elaborated. Phew, what a relief! But what, pray tell, did it have to do with then? Adler said the House took offense when Brown said "no means no" because it implied she was comparing abortion legislation to rape. And if there's one thing Republicans hate more than the right to choose, it's metaphor.
Other Republican representatives were so horrified by the v-word that they didn't even care about pretending otherwise to make themselves look slightly less dickish. "What she said was offensive," said state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, hands at the ready to cover his ears lest a nearby woman utter the correct term for a part of her anatomy. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company," he said.
What's more offensive to women: using the word "vagina" while talking about medical procedures that involve vaginas, or allowing a group of pearl-clutchy men who are so disgusted by ladyparts that they can't even talk about them in public to dictate what women should do with their own bodies? Fuck it, let's just call the vagina what it really is: a baby receptacle.
Brown told The Detroit News that the incident has helped her raise campaign donations, so at least there's some hope left in this world.
Michigan reps silenced for use of 'v-words' [The Detroit News]