Caution: This week's Musical Monday installment may cause members of the Michigan House of Representatives to clutch their pearls in horror, get the vapors, faint, or possibly even have a heart attack or an aneurism. Be warned.
On June 20th, 2012, while criticizing a bill that was yet another effort to evade the legal requirements of Roe v. Wade, Michigan state representative Lisa Brown said " "I'm flattered you're all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no." This simple statement of truth caused the all-male Republican leadership of the state house to spin themselves into a pearl-clutching tizzy of outrage over the fact that a mere woman had the temerity to tell the truth about their blatantly unconstitutional and anti-woman legislation.
So Republican leadership barred her from speaking stating that Brown (and another legislator who had tried to introduce a bill that would bar vasectomies except where necessary to protect the life of the patient) "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."
This, predictably, sparked criticism of the Michigan House leadership,for their ban on the use of the word "vagina" in discussing legislation aimed at regulating, well, vaginas. In response, the Republican lawmakers decided to double down on their silliness by proffering mealy mouthed weasel-worded excuses explaining that they didn't ban her for using the word "vagina", but rather for the way she used the word vagina. To quote Ari Adler, press secretary for Michigan House Speaker James Bolger, "It was the context in which it was used and the way it was used, that was the problem." So apparently using the word "vagina" in the context of legislation involving vaginas is the problem? Or maybe Brown's "breach of decorum" was in pointing out that as a woman, she does indeed possess a vagina?
Of course, Adler's excuse is simply nonsense, and the attempted obfuscation is simply pathetic. Republican lawmaker Rick Johnson dug the hole deeper when he attempted to explain by saying, "That comment would be very inappropriate. You have young children? Is that something you want them to hear from your state rep?" In response, I have to say that I don't find the comment to be inappropriate given the legislation being discussed at the time, I have children (my youngest is currently twelve, which I think does count as "young children"), and I think that a state representative using the correct anatomical term in a discussion about legislation relating to medical practices is exactly what I would want them to hear.
So, in honor of the leadership of the Michigan House of Representatives who apparently get the vapors and faint when they hear the word "vagina", I am featuring Paul & Storm's ode to female lady parts I Will Sing a Lullaby.
Paul & Storm Musical Monday Home