Recently the debate about abortion bills has come to resemble the Monty Python sketch about the Tax on Thingy.
Politician: Good Lord, you're not suggesting we should tax... thingy?
First Official: Poo poo's?
Third Official: No.
First Official: Thank God for that. Excuse me for a moment.
Third Official: No, no, no — thingy.
Second Official: Number ones?
Third Official: No, thingy.
Politician: Thinby! [sic]
Second Official: Ah, thingy. (Courtesy OrangeCow.org)
Don’t say the word.
In Michigan, two female state legislators were barred from speaking on the House floor after their efforts to protest an anti-abortion bill slipped below the, er, decorum code.
The state of Michigan would like to make it illegal to have an abortion (you can say that, it sounds clinical) after 20 weeks, except in cases where it was necessary to save the life of the mother, would impose hefty insurance requirements on OB-GYNs, and would require women’s health centers to meet the standards of surgical outpatient operating rooms. It would be one of the more stringent abortion restrictions in the nation. But that is not what is important. What is important is that two of the women objecting to it were not ladylike. They failed to preserve decorum.
One of them went so far as to say the Horrid Unspeakable Word.
You know the word. Ever since being bitten by a rabid Eve Ensler at a young age I have found the word distasteful.
But she had to go and say it.
“And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’ ” said Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield).
Look, if she had to do it, she should have stuck to time-honored classics like muffin, tuzzy-muzzie, hat or doodle sack. Do not regulate the crinkum crankum. Why are you mucking about with Buckinger’s Boot? Leave the monosyllable alone.
She was not allowed to speak the next day on the grounds that she had violated the “decorum of the house,” according to Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R-Midland). “I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far yesterday.”
Other members were more scandalized. According to Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville), “What she said was offensive. It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company."
Indeed not! I know it’s the correct anatomical term. That just makes it filthier. It reeks of science. Who on earth inserts that sort of thing into a discussion of unrelated legislation? That’s just rude.
It wasn’t unrelated? That was actually something the legislation was about?
If you can’t even stand to hear the word, then surely you should abstain from voting on it.
If it pains you that someone should utter such a thing and you have to scuttle back under the nearest counter, if you think talking about it on the floor of the legislature is rude, then maybe you should not be legislating what gets done with it for people who have to walk around with one every day.
Consider decorum! This isn’t what state legislatures should be fixated on. In an ideal world, no one should be standing up on the floor of a state legislature and using those anatomical terms.
It reminds them what they’re talking about.