A male Republican House leader in Michigan silenced two female Democratic state legislators on Thursday after the pair tried to advance a measure that would have reduced access to vasectomies.
While discussing a bill that would erode the availability of abortion, Reps. Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown introduced an amendment to apply the same regulations to vasectomies that GOP lawmakers wanted to add to abortion services. The debate grew heated, as Republicans sought to gravel down the women. Byrum was not permitted to speak in favor of the measure and Brown was repeatedly interrupted. “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no,” she said. The next day both were silenced. Watch their comments:
Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R) was “uncomfortable with me saying vasectomy,” Byrum explained, noting that no one told her why she had been banned or how long it would last. “I can only assume it’s because I stood up for my district and women in Michigan yesterday,” she added.
Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger (R), said the women “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.”
This post has been updated to correct Brown’s quote from her floor speech.