Female lawmakers barred from floor after ‘vagina,’ ‘vasectomy’ remarks

By CNN Political Unit

(CNN) — Two state representatives in Michigan were barred from speaking on the floor of the legislature in Lansing Thursday after colleagues deemed their language “failed to maintain the decorum” of the legislative body.

State Reps. State Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum, both Democrats, were arguing against proposed legislation that would enact new restrictions on abortions in Michigan, including provisions for new insurance requirements for abortion providers.

Brown ended her floor speech by declaring: “”I’m flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”

Byrum chimed in, announcing the word “vasectomy” after Brown’s speech, an apparent reference to proposed Democratic legislation that would counter the new abortion rules by placing similar restrictions on vasectomies.

A spokesman for the Republican Speaker of the House told the Detroit Free Press the two women would not be allowed to speak on the floor after their remarks.

They “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,” the spokesman said.

He continued, “House Republicans often go beyond simply allowing debate by welcoming open and passionate discussion of the issues before this chamber. The only way we can continue doing so, however, is to ensure that the proper level of maturity and civility are maintained on the House floor.”

In a web video, the Democratic leaders of Michigan’s State Senate said the restrictions amounted to a “war on women.”

“This is very real, and it comes at the highest levels of state government,” State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Right now we are seeing our Republican colleagues in the House working to take away our rights to choose, our rights to health care, our rights to make decisions about our bodies. And just today, they’re taking away our female colleagues rights in the House, they’re right to speak on the floor.”

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