‘Don’t say vagina’ bill faces vote in Michigan senate committee

By Kay Steiger
Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:47 EDT
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Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown (D) screenshot via CNN
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A controversial anti-abortion Michigan bill that prompted Rep. Lisa Brown (D) to be banned from the house floor for saying the word “vagina” faces a vote in the state’s senate committee on Thursday.

The bill would implement a host of regulatory requirements for abortion providers, including special licensure, elaborate tissue disposal requirements, mandated screening for women seeking an abortion and a ban on remote counseling for taking medical abortion pills. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which opposes such regulations, said, “These excessive and unnecessary government regulations – an ever-growing trend among state legislatures – increase the cost and scarcity of abortion services, harming women’s health and inhibiting their reproductive choices.”

Her objections to the bill prompted Rep. Brown to say, “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.”

Republicans then banned her and another Democrat from speaking on the floor, saying her use of the word “vagina” was a violation of “decorum.”

After Brown was banned from speaking, she and other activists gathered on the state capitol steps to perform “The Vagina Monologues” in protest.

The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the Republican-led Michigan state house. A Republican majority also controls Michigan’s state senate, but it’s unlikely the entire senate will vote on the bill until after it returns from a recess on August 15, according to MLive.

Watch the interview with Brown, broadcast on CNN on June 21.

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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