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.