Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Jewish Lawmaker Silenced in Michigan

A Michigan state lawmaker cited her Jewish faith in a floor speech on abortion law that got her silenced for a day because she used the word “vagina.” State Rep. Lisa Brown (D) spoke Wednesday in opposition to proposed laws that would add restrictions to clinics that provide abortions, including hikes in required insurance and additional licensing requirements.

One proposed law would ban abortions after 20 weeks, with what the Detroit News described as a “narrow exception for the mother’s life.” Brown argued that the restrictions violated her religious rights, among others.

“Judaism believes that therapeutic abortions, namely abortions performed in order to preserve the life of the mother are not only permissible, but mandatory,” she said. “The stage of pregnancy does not matter. Wherever there’s a question of the life of the mother or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother.” Her conclusion – “And finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all interested in my vagina, but no means no.”– got her banned from speaking Thursday on the House floor. “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” the Detroit News quoted her as saying at a press conference.

The law imposing new requirements on abortion providers passed in the GOP-majority chamver, and the law banning abortions after 20 weeks was postponed for later consideration. The controversy sparked a trend, with one hashtag, #VaginaMovieLines, in which Tweeters would substitute the word in famous movie lines, topping Twitter’s trend list late Thursday.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.