DETROIT (AP) — A state lawmaker from the Detroit area says she's getting support from across the country after she referred to her vagina on the House floor and was banned from speaking the next day.
Rep. Lisa Brown, a Democrat from Oakland County, says she was punished Thursday by Republicans who control the Michigan House. A day earlier, while speaking against an anti-abortion bill, Brown told Republicans, "I'm flattered you're all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no."
Republican leaders said Brown violated House decorum. A second Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Barb Byrum of Ingham County, says she was silenced after a reference to vasectomies.
Brown says she's surprised her comments led to a backlash from Republicans. She says vagina can be found in Michigan law in at least three places.
Friday afternoon, Rep. Brown sent a letter to WSBT-TV addressed to the Michigan Democratic Party. Here is what she said:
Enough is enough! We must stop the Republicans' extreme, right-wing agenda. For the past 18 months, GOP legislation has done nothing but attack middle class families, school kids, seniors, the working poor, public employees, and now women. This week, the Republican-controlled House passed an abortion bill among the worst of its kind in the nation. When State Representative Barb Byrum and I voiced our opposition to this bill using the anatomically correct terms "vasectomy" and "vagina," House Speaker Jase Bolger banned us from speaking on the House floor. Speaker Bolger and his GOP buddies are aiming to destroy women's reproductive rights and silence any opposition by women. It's unfair, misogynistic, and a serious violation of our right to free speech.
The MDP sent out an email yesterday asking for your support in fighting this terrible GOP legislation. Over a thousand of you stood up for Michigan women and families by contacting your State Senator and telling him or her to vote "no" on these dangerous and discriminatory bills. We thank you for helping, but so much more needs to be done. Help us turn the House blue this November by contributing today.
It's time to tell the Republicans that we won't stand for their conduct. We won't stand for censoring free speech or silencing your voice in Lansing. We won't stand for extreme legislation that puts the health of a mother at risk. We won't stand for the petty name calling coming out of the Speaker's office directed toward elected female Democrats, like myself, in both the House and Senate. Check out my floor speech on my website to learn more. Let's work together to elect officials all across the state who will stand up for women's rights.
Too much is at stake this November. If Republicans remain in control of the State House and government offices throughout the state, we will see more extreme legislation that caters to powerful special interests like insurance companies, corporations, and Right to Life lobbyists, at the expense of Michigan families. Don't let them turn back the clock on women's rights. We must retake the House and elect candidates in all levels of government who support women's rights so we can stop the Republican stranglehold in our state. But we need your help: contribute today and help us take back Michigan!
Thank you, and keep up the fight!
State Representative, 39th District