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Update: Lawmaker Barred from Speaking After 'Vagina' Remark

Rep. Lisa Brown of West Bloomfield referenced her Jewish faith and personal anatomy arguing against legislation restricting abortion.

Updated: June 15, 8:26 a.m.

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State House Rep. Lisa Brown said she was not told why she was prohibited from speaking on the floor Thursday about an education bill, though she assumed it had to do with her referencing her vagina in a speech against new abortion legislation.

Brown (D-West Bloomfield), a Jewish mother of three, was barred from speaking after she claimed House Bill 5711 forces contradictory religious beliefs upon her and others.

"Wherever there is a question of the life of the mother or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother," Brown said on the floor Wednesday. "I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?"

"Finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but 'no' means 'no.'"

Brown, who was banned along with Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga), said that they were not told the reason for the ban which kept them from speaking on a school employee retirement bill. 

"Regardless of their reasoning, this is a violation of my First Amendment rights and directly impedes my ability to serve the people who elected me into office," Brown said in a release.

The Detroit News reported that Brown's comments, with the use of the word "vagina", violated decorum of the House, according to spokesperson for the Republican majority.

House GOP spokesperson Ari Adler tweeted, "2 Reps. aren't being recognized to speak today because of their actions. Has nothing to w/gender, religion or topic."

Brown pointed out that "vagina" is the "medically correct term."

"If they are going to legislate my anatomy, I see no reason why I cannot mention it."

The House passed HB 5711, 70-39 with one Representative abstaining. The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks with an exception for the life of the mother.

Neal Charness June 16, 2012 at 03:18 AM
The Republican leadership hasn't a scintilla of integrity on this one. Rep Brown told the truth, used proper language, and embarrassed the Republicans who were trying to take away womens' rights under the guise of protecting their interests. Now they're getting lots of blow back and they're trying to make it Lisa Brown's fault. These guys should read Animal Farm instead of Animal House. What an embarassment for Michigan.
Karen M Faett June 16, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I am embarrassed and appalled that my current representative has such a cavelier attitude about rules of decorum and decency. I am further discusted by her display in furtherance of abortion for strangers when she treated her own aide who chose to have a baby so shably. The silver lining for me is that Brown's days as my legislator are numbered, and I am confident the voters of Oakland County will not support this divisive self promotor for County Clerk. I will deal with being a disgusted constituent of her legislative district, but I will make every effort available to me that she is soundly defeated.
Karen M Faett June 17, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Please define Woman's Rights" for the readers. Rep Brown grandstanded and now the spectacle continues because someone who starred in a play years ago supported her? Michigan residents hopefully have "rights" in that those elected should be expected to follow rules. Ms Brown knew exactly what she was doing and it doesn't help to convince anyone she would benefit us in the county clerk''s office.
Neal Charness June 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Hey folks...Look at all of Karen Faett's posts. Part of the local Republican organization--her right, of course, but to start taking shots at Lisa Brown is absurdly partisan here. More Republican "integrity."
Qbn Import August 08, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I don't think Ms. Brown's one sentence broke any rules of decorum. She expressed her view without using foul or offensive language. Her comment sounds a bit impassioned to make a point, and it sounds like the men were put off that she made a salient one at that. They sound envious and flustered that she trumped their desire to control women's bodies with logic and common sense. Rather than accepting this, they decided ddecided to take away a privilege that has nothing to do with her "offence" the way a bad parent would. Juvenile indeed.

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