If you keep up with the news at all you have probably heard about the outrage in Michigan over a state legislator saying the word “vagina” on the House floor. This lawmaker, Representative Lisa Brown, was speaking out over a bill that would force doctors to ensure that a woman’s abortion is not coerced. She said at the end of her speech “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no” (1). I found the video on Upworthy and decided to post it here so you can see what happens to her and other female legislators in Michigan.
Representative Brown has since been banned indefinitely from speaking on the floor of the Michigan state legislature because of her vagina comment. Republican Floor Leader Jim Stamas banned her from speaking because he was concerned about decorum. According to Stamas, Brown compared the bill to rape by using the “no means no” line. Also “there were third and fourth graders” in the audience (2).
In this speech Representative Brown gets to the heart of the matter of what is happening in Michigan and is threatening to happen in other parts of the country. Brown explains that Jewish people, like herself, have very strict dietary guidelines. They also have other guidelines that must be adhered to, especially when it comes to the Sabbath. She asks, “I’ve not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?” (3) Religion is only part of the issue when it comes to women’s rights. so let’s go a little deeper.
Many Christians believe that Adam was the first human created and Eve was the second, so Adam had dominion over Eve. Today women are still largely treated as subordinate to men. This view has influenced how women are treated in Western culture. Now, not all Christians act this way, but there are still pockets out there. So what we are getting into here is our government is being influence by religious zealots who are trying to tell women what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. Similar things happened in Medieval Europe when the Catholic Church ruled over everything, especially when it came to women’s rights. They squashed any unalienable rights that we now hold dear in the US because they believed that women were property of men.
So, why are we moving backwards? Just recently, Georgia was considering a bill that would prevent abortions after twenty weeks because of shady evidence that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Georgia Democrats introduced a counter bill that would not allow men to get vasectomies “unless needed to avert serious injury or death” (4). This is a tongue in cheek way of saying that if women are going to have to have an unwanted pregnancy then men should not have the option of terminating potential births.
Also, Virginia just tried to pass a bill that would require women wanting abortions to have a transvaginal ultrasound. That ultrasound is an invasive procedure in which a rod is stuck inside a woman’s vagina and is moved around until an image is seen on the monitor. I believe this is classified as “rape under the federal definition” (5). Luckily, this bill did not gain traction.
Here is the problem. We have men in government wanting to decide how women control their bodies. These have a certain amount of power and authority. If this legislation goes through, the government will be mandating what a woman can do with her body. Does this sounds right to anyone else? Here is what I would like to propose. If women should be told they can have abortions if they jump through a ton of hoops, then I think that men should have to have vasectomies at 30 years of age. If not, then men should be fined and maybe go to jail. Does this sound more ridiculous than the government telling women what to do? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If the government wants to tell women what to do with their bodies, then it should tell men as well. This will lead us down a slippery slope to a totalitarian government, but at least we would appease the religious extremists that want to know what you are doing in your bedroom.
1) Stemas bars lawmaker from speaking. http://www.ourmidland.com/news/article_3f69d6f4-b958-11e1-812c-0019bb2963f4.html
2) See reference number 1.
3) See video.
4) Georgia Democrats propose limitations on vasectomies for men. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/21/georgia-democrats-to-propose-limitations-on-vasectomies-for-men/
5) Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/02/virginia_ultrasound_law_women_who_want_an_abortion_will_be_forcibly_penetrated_for_no_medical_reason.html