In a stunning turn of events last week a Michigan legislator was punished for saying the word vagina on the house floor.
For using a medically accurate term while speaking on the subject of health care, she was barred from speaking on the House floor the next day. There is no record of such a punishment being imposed on legislators who use other medically accurate terms like colon or prostate.
When the term War on Women is used in 2012, there may be no better illustration of its accuracy than this. When a woman is literally silenced by a man for saying the word vagina in public you have to wonder what has happened to America.
The Michigan legislator, Rep. Lisa Brown, after being punished posed the right question: why are they legislating vaginas if you can’t say vagina?
From access to basic medical care to providing women with medically accurate information to contraception to abortion access, women’s health care is under assault in the United States of America in 2012.
Following the 2010 election, an election that was centered on a majority feeling of economic frustration and not frustration towards women, in state house after state house and in the United States Congress there has been a flurry of legislation targeting women.
Who knew that is was women’s health care that caused the economy to collapse?
In Texas, the legislature moved to deny low-income women access to preventative care and family planning serves through Planned Parenthood. For thousands of low-income women, Planned Parenthood is their access to the health care system.
Virginia legislators pushed hard to restrict women’s rights before they buckled to public pressure and eliminated a provision demanding that women endure a mandated medical procedure, a vaginal probe ultrasound, before having an abortion.
The Kansas legislature passed a bill that allows doctors to withhold medical information from women if it might lead her to have an abortion. This means that a pregnant mother going to her physician might have a life threatening condition related to her pregnancy and not know it. Every woman will have reason to wonder if their doctor is telling them the truth about their health.
Last October, the U.S. House passed a bill that would literally allow a woman to die on an emergency room floor by freeing religious hospitals from the legal responsibility of providing a life-saving abortion procedure to a pregnant woman who is dying.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks is trying to impose restrictions on women’s health care…on the residents of Washington, DC. People that did not and would not and cannot vote him into office.
That isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
Right wing nut Rush Limbaugh attacked a woman, Sandra Fluke, for testifying before congress about contraception. He called her a slut and demanded that she post video on the Internet of her having sex so he could watch since he was paying for it. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/03/02/limbaugh-calls-student-slut-asks-for-sex-tapes-from-all-women/
Republican Presidential candidates and party leadership made no effort to silence Limbaugh in the face of his vulgar remarks.
Yet Republican leaders in Michigan silence a woman for referring to her vagina.
This assault on women’s health care is being led by Republican men. Why they are doing it is unclear. There has never been an explanation of how misogyny will fix the economy.
These ideological zealots have shown no respect for women. Maybe they think since the economy is bad, they can get away with it because people are concerned with other matters.
Like, perhaps the economy?
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.