So we all keep hearing about this “war on women” that the Republican Party is accused of waging all across the nation. They are trying to reduce women’s access to abortions and redefine rape. Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Georgia) thinks victims of rape, stalking and domestic abuse (crimes mostly women are victims of) should even be called “accusers.” Republicans in South Dakota proposed legislation that would expand the meaning of justifiable homicide to include killing a doctor who provides abortions, and Republicans everywhere are trying to defund Planned Parenthood. The left calls it a “war on women,” and the GOP calls it protecting the right of life. I don’t call it anything mainly because I don’t have a vagina. Let’s hope I don’t get banned from the paper for using the word “vagina,” like Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown did. Brown was banned from the house floor for saying the word “vagina.” I just don’t understand this at all. How can a woman be banned from the house floor for using the word “vagina” when debating an anti-abortion bill? Besides the fact that vaginas should be mentioned when talking about women’s choice bills, the puzzling thing is that vagina is an anatomically correct term, a term that doctors and medical professionals use, the people, along with women, who should be making these decisions – not lawmakers.
Many will say that this is just an isolated incident in one state that shouldn’t be counted as a factor to the alleged GOP “war on women,” but we have seen something very similar to this in our own backyard. In 2011, Florida Rep. Scott Randolph was reprimanded for saying the word “uterus” during a debate on a bill that would prohibit government from deducting union dues from worker paychecks. During a debate, Randolph suggested that “maybe [his] wife should incorporate her uterus.” Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon wasn’t a fan of the one-liner; he informed Randolph that he was not allowed to “use body parts on the house floor.” This is a bit ironic considering that at the time of Randolph’s comments, there were 18 anti-abortion bills moving through the state legislature.
So when it comes to debating choice for women, it seems that the GOP doesn’t want to hear words like “vagina” or “uterus.” If one party can’t use those words (which are all anatomically correct), then why can the other party legislate it? Brown wondered the same thing. After GOP leadership in the Michigan legislature banned Brown from speaking during the rest of the day, Brown held a press conference asking, “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating [on] vaginas? What term should I use?” Remember, the GOP isn’t waging a “war on women,” it is just protecting the right to life. It would be more than willing to put the burden of protecting the right to life on men as much as it puts the burden on women, right? Wrong. The same day Brown was banned, another Democratic representative in Michigan, Barb Byrum, was not allowed to speak for that day because she tried to introduce an amendment to the anti-abortion bill that would ban men from getting vasectomies unless it was to save their lives.
Not only did the GOP block Byrum’s amendment, but she was also not allowed to speak on it, and she was banned from speaking in session the next day. I think I now understand why the GOP is against words like “vagina” and “uterus” but want to legislate it, and why the GOP is for the right to life but would prefer to limit a women’s rights rather than a man’s. The answer is pretty clear: It’s because the GOP is in fact waging a war on women. My advice for the Republican Party: Just remember the old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.”
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