LANSING, MICH.—Several thousand people thronged the state Capitol lawn Monday evening to protest the treatment of two female lawmakers barred from speaking on the House floor last week after an emotional debate over abortion.
The crowd heard a recitation by the two lawmakers and others of “The Vagina Monologues.”
The performance, kicked off by the work’s author, Eve Ensler, who flew in from California for the occasion, was the culmination of five days of reaction to the decision by House Republican leaders to issue one-day revocations of the right of Democratic state Reps. Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum to speak on the House floor.
They said the discipline was in response to incivility displayed by the two representatives a day earlier during a debate over legislation to impose new restrictions on abortion clinics. Brown said she was punished for using the word “vagina.”
Capitol facilities director Steve Benkovsky estimated about 2,500 people watched the “Vaginas Take Back the Capitol!” event.
Ensler said she was thrilled to be involved and likened the punishment meted out by the Republican leadership of the state House to “the Dark Ages.”
“If we ever knew deep in our hearts that the issue about abortion … was not really about fetuses and babies, but really men’s terror of women’s sexuality and power, I think it’s fully evidenced here,” Ensler told The Associated Press by phone.