What word starts with a "V," frightens a surprising number of men, and is referred to by epithets such as "You-Know-Who", "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "the Dark Lord?" In most parts of the world, the answer is Voldemort, but in the Michigan State House of Representatives, it's "vagina…"
State Reps. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, and Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, were told today that they wouldn't be recognized to publicly speak on any matters before the House because of comments they made Wednesday during an emotional debate on a bill that puts new restrictions on abortion providers.
Brown, who voted against the legislation, told supporters of the bill, "I'm flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no."
And Byrum was gaveled out of order after she protested when she wasn't allowed to speak on her amendment to the bill that would have required proof of a medical emergency or that a man’s life was in danger before a doctor could perform a vasectomy.
It's unclear how long the lawmakers' punishment for
their anodyne and anatomically correct remarksvaginaing all over the place, will last. But it's worth noting how far we haven't come: it's perfectly to decorous for the Michigan House to fast track one of the country's most restrictive anti-abortion measures — the bill passed 70-39, along partisan lines — but against the rules of order for a female legislator to talk about the body part that's being legislated.
At least Twitter had a good day with the story, as people inserted the word that shall not be spoken into famous movie lines…
"Luke, I am your vagina." #VaginaMovieLines
— Darth Vader (@DepressedDarth) June 15, 2012
"You can't handle the vagina!" #VaginaMovieLines
— Martha Plimpton (@MarthaPlimpton) June 15, 2012
Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Abortion, Michigan, Twitter, Women's Rights