Republican leaders in the Michigan House barred two women from speaking on the floor last week after the women spoke out against a GOP-backed bill that would restrict abortion access in the state. One of the women, state Rep. Lisa Brown (D), said during debate about the bill that “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.” A spokesman for the House majority leader accused Brown and Rep. Barb Byrum (D), who was also banned from speaking, of throwing “temper tantrums.”
To fight back against being silenced for saying “vagina” during the debate, Brown participated in a reading of “The Vagina Monologues” at the Michigan capitol yesterday along with Byrum and Eve Ensler, who wrote the play. An estimated 5,000 people gathered for the reading.
To close the night, Ensler gave a speech about how she was “over” the over-regulation and limiting of women’s health options, and she called out the Michigan Republicans who punished Brown for saying “vagina”:
I am over the Michigan state legislature, and any legislature, censoring, rebuking and removing Lisa Brown because they find the word “vagina” contemptible or out of bounds or lacking decorum. My vagina’s got decorum! [...]
I am over brilliant remarks being called “tantrums” and outspoken women being called “crazy” and lacking decorum when they are just smart.
Watch Ensler’s speech (via Progress Michigan):