#SayVagina: Politicians Perform “The Vagina Monologues” in Protest at Michigan’s State Capitol
Female lawmakers in Michigan gathered on the steps of the State Capitol last night to protest the ban placed on members for using the word “vagina.” The lawmakers, along the play’s author Eve Ensler, performed “The Vagina Monologues” for a crowd of about 5,000.
Last week, Michigan Democratic lawmaker Lisa Brown spoke on the House floor to voice her opposition to the state’s recent law that would restrict access to abortions. In her closing remarks, she stated: "Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."
Brown was then banned from speaking by the Republican-led chamber for using the word "vagina." Fellow female lawmaker Barb Byrum was also banned from speaking because she was “out of order” after protesting that she was not allowed to speak on her amendment, which would have banned vasectomies unless there was a medical emergency or a man’s life was in danger.
Supporters of the act of protest used #sayvagina on Twitter and Facebook to provide live feedback on the event.
Detroit Free Press reporter Kathy Gray, who tweeted from the scene, posted that Brown stated, "I'm overwhelmed. Who knew one little floor speech could end in this? … We're not going to let legislators turn the clock back … We shouldn't be legislating vaginas if you can't say vaginas.”
Bold Progressives, a progressive change campaign committee, tweeted a link to a petition, which demands Michigan Republican House leaders apologize for silencing Brown for using the word “vagina.”
Ensler, who flew into Michigan from California for the event, said, "Bring signs, bring your vagina, bring your outrage, bring your humor."
The event gave Ensler a chance to speak her mind to the media and explain the root of anti-choice legislation:
Ensler said she was thrilled to be involved and likened the punishment meted out by the Republican leadership of the state House to "the Dark Ages."
"If we ever knew deep in our hearts that the issue about abortion … was not really about fetuses and babies, but really men's terror of women's sexuality and power, I think it's fully evidenced here," Ensler told The Associated Press by phone.
Here's a clip of Ensler on the capitol steps (h.t Think Progress):
This isn't the first vaginagate and it won't be the last: here are Michelle Goldberg and Eric Jong talking "vagina" with Joy Behar on Current TV.