Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jun/12

16

“Offensive”

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Via Detroit News:

Lansing – House Republicans prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech Wednesday against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.

Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs and that abortions be allowed in cases where it is required to save the life of the mother.

“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,'” Brown said Wednesday.

Brown’s comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn’t allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.

“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

It rarely fails does it? The moment that some public figure starts jabbering on about something that he or she finds “offensive”, an attack on free speech is never far behind.

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5 comments

  • Uland · June 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I think it is offensive. Not the word, but the suggestion-even as a joke- that the men of the house are “interested”, etc. If a male joked about female politicians being interested in host testes, he’d be strung up.
    I think some kind of censure is in order, but I don’t know the details enough to comments on whether their actions were appropriate.

  • Susan · June 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    It makes you yearn for the days of the Restoration wits, doesn’t it? If only the earl of Rochester had been there to respond to Madame Brown.

  • Acilius · June 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    If you believe as the anti-abortion crowd does that it is the duty of the state to protect the civil rights of fetuses, then you would have to believe that agents of the state ought to have access to women’s vaginas.

    So I understand why they support bills like these. What I don’t understand is how Mr Callton, or any man for that matter, could bring himself to publicly present himself as someone who ought to be shielded from offense. I am nobody’s idea of macho, but even I would be humiliated beyond words if I had to say that I was a delicate little flower who had to be protected from “offense.” Certainly, when claiming to be offended is a means of silencing the other side in a debate, there is a powerful incentive for all participants to make that claim. But it is beyond my imagination that such an incentive could be so powerful as to induce a man to publicly label himself an utter sissy.

  • Polichinello · June 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    There’s no curtailment of free speech. Brown violated rules of decorum, and they assessed the one penalty they have at hand, which is to impose a suspension on her speaking privileges. She can still go outside and yell “my vagina” to her heart’s content.

  • Author comment by Andrew Stuttaford · June 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Polichinello, I regret to say that we disagree: silencing the ability of an elected representative to speak within the legislative assembly to which, by dint of election, she has a right (not a privilege)to speak is indeed an infringement of free speech. As for her breach of any rules, the test applied appears to have been remarkably subjective, and, I fear, uncomfortably close to the type of procedural tricks more generally seen in rather less democratic countries. Those Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

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