Verboten: Vagina and Vasectomy

In spite of the fact that MI’s economy–which had been turning around–is now turning back down again, the Republicans who run Lansing are busy enacting new restrictions on abortion and contraception. Busy with that, and busy silencing two state Reps who had the audacity to say “vagina” and “vasectomy” on the House floor.

Representatives Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum, both Democrats, were barred from participating in debates Thursday because they were “disrupting decorum” during debate on Wednesday over three bills that would put restrictions on abortions, said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger.

The cause of Brown’s gag order was this statement, which she made during a floor speech opposing a bill that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks: “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”

Byrum’s speaking privileges were revoked after the state congresswoman shouted multiple times at the legislature’s chairman that she should be given a chance to speak on her amendment, a chance she was not given during debate Wednesday.

Byrum’s amendment, which ABC apparently doesn’t want to talk about either, was to require men to show medical necessity before getting a vasectomy.

Byrum caused a stir when she marched through the House gallery Wednesday protesting that she hadn’t been allowed to speak on her amendment to the anti-abortion bill that would have required a man to have proof of a medical emergency before he could have a vasectomy.

“It’s my impression that I’m being banned from speaking as a result of my use of the term vasectomy — a medical procedure,” Byrum told The Huffington Post.

Now that the national press has wondered what kind of neanderthals ban the use of vagina (they’re afraid to talk about that other V-word), Republicans have responded by making their “issues” clear.

“They behaved in a way that disrupted the decorum of the House,” [House Majority Leader’s spokesperson Ari] Adler said. “For Brown, it was not the words she used, but the way she used them that resulted in her being gaveled down.” In Byrum’s case, Adler said, “I hate to put it this way, but she essentially had a temper tantrum on the House floor.”

When women try to ask men to be held to the same terms as women, you see, it amounts to a temper tantrum.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

14 replies
  1. Jim White says:

    Imagine the outrage if a certain Michigan resident had said “blowjob” on the House floor.

    Not enough fainting couches in all of Lansing.

  2. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: As I continue to read through this DOD report, I thought I’d alert our friends in San Clemente, California (Nixon’s old stomping grounds and the place I had the “pleasure” of conducting a Navy minesweeping exercise offshore when Watergate was boiling over) that the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) flies both the armed MQ-1B Predator drone and the bigger armed MQ-9A Reaper drone from San Clemente Island (see page 12 in that report).

    If you hear a buzzing overhead, duck!

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    An accurate, even a casual, non-sexual knowledge of human anatomy has always been something politicians avoid admitting. There’s only one part of human anatomy they claim to have a firm grasp of, and that only for comparison purposes.

  4. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: Oh, and those folks who live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, ditto on US Special Operations Command flying the armed MQ-1B Predator drone and the bigger armed MQ-9A Reaper drone from the nearby Fort Carson over your lovely neighborhoods.

    Best not to do any jumping jacks outside!

  5. MadDog says:

    @P J Evans: Yeah, now that I’ve Google-mapped San Clemente Island, I see it is about 60 miles or so offshore.

    When we were doing that Navy minesweeping exercise during the Watergate period, we were only about 1,000 yards offshore of San Clemente – the town on the California coast. Did it for 2 days. Was the typical beautiful sunny California weather, so it was quite a pleasant cruise.

    I could never figure out why we were there. Usually, we did our minesweeping exercises far from human activity like further up the coast in the Channel Islands (around Santa Rosa island) or 10 miles out to sea from Point Loma.

    When we were doing the minesweeping exercise off San Clemente – the town, all the homes on the coastline there were so close you could almost reach out and touch them.

    I guess somebody further up the chain of command decided that Nixon’s Western White House was at risk of being mined by angry Democrats or something. *g*

  6. MadDog says:

    OT – Continuing on with it’s series, the WaPo has the 2nd installment tonight:

    Contractors run U.S. spying missions in Africa

    “ENTEBBE, Uganda — Four small, white passenger planes sit outside a hangar here under a blazing sun, with no exterior markings save for U.S. registration numbers painted on the tails. A few burly men wearing aviator sunglasses and short haircuts poke silently around the wing flaps and landing gear.

    The aircraft are Pilatus PC-12s, turboprops favored by the U.S. Special Operations forces for stealth missions precisely because of their nondescript appearance. There is no hint that they are carrying high-tech sensors and cameras that can film man-size targets from 10 miles away.

    To further disguise the mission, the U.S. military has taken another unusual step: It has largely outsourced the spying operation to private contractors. The contractors supply the aircraft as well as the pilots, mechanics and other personnel to help process electronic intelligence collected from the airspace over Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic…”

    If you missed their 1st piece from last night, here it is:

    Contractors run U.S. spying missions in Africa

    And here’s the WaPo’s graphic map of the US covert ops in North Africa:

    The African network

  7. justbetty says:

    Of course, when women do it it’s a temper tantrum and when men do it, it forcefully making a case. Women are so emotional, as we all know!

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