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Byrum: 'Vasectomy' comment led to ban from Michigan House floor

2:19 PM, Jun 14, 2012   |    comments
The capitol in Lansing.
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LANSING, Mich. (Lansing State Journal) - "Vasectomy."

That was the word spoken by state Rep. Barb Byrum on the House floor Wednesday - an apparent transgression that she believes led House leaders to bar her from speaking today.

On Wednesday, Byrum, D-Onondaga, tried to propose an amendment to a bill which seeks to increase regulations on abortion clinics and regulate the disposal of fetal remains.

The bill passed the House 70-39.

In a video of the exchange posted on YouTube, Byrum stands at a podium, one arm raised, and tries to be heard.  (The video is at the bottom of this story.)

"I'd like to speak Mr. Speaker. I'd like to speak. I'd like to speak Mr. Speaker," Byrum says, but is not recognized.

As she walks away, Byrum then says, "vasectomy."

In an interview today, Byrum said her amendment would have made vasectomies subject to the same regulations as abortions.

The ban from speaking, she said, came from the House floor leader, Rep. Jim Stamas, a Republican from Midland. Byrum said she has not been given a time frame for the ban.

"This is sickening. As a woman, as a mom, as a state representative - we may not always agree, but even when we disagree, we should be given the opportunity to disagree in a public place," Byrum said. "And that wasn't permitted."

A message seeking comment was left with Stamas's office.

Byrum said another legislator, Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, also was banned.

Her transgression, according to Byrum, was saying about the bill: "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."

Byrum said the ultimate goal of the bill's proponents is to ban all abortions in the state.

Supporters say the legislation is about protecting women.


Lansing State Journal

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