State lawmakers taking part in a protest at the Capitol, reading "The Vagina Monologues." (Courtesy: Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal)
LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) - One word -- "vagina" -- became the focus Monday night of a protest on the steps of the capitol in Lansing.
Actresses read from a play about the women's experience, as part of the demonstration.
It was sparked last week after a state lawmaker argued against new regulations for abortion providers and used the word vagina.
The word "vagina" brought thousands of people to the state capitol with signs to protest last week's incident.
"We are not living in the 1950's, this is the 2000's," says protester Elizabeth Welch Lykins.
Last week during an abortion debate on the House floor, State Representative Lisa Brown said "I'm flattered you're all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."
The next day Brown and another female lawmaker were banned from speaking on the floor of the house. They believe it was because of the word.
"It's so ridiculous, it's almost funny. However, its incredibly serious when you tell women they can't speak their mind," says Welch Lykins.
"I think this is a beautiful thing. Women have been discriminated a long time in our history," says protester Jackie Marks.
"I think the two women who spoke out of turn should be silenced," says Spencer Austin who opposes the rally.
Austin was far outnumbered but equally as passionate.
"If I go out and randomly scream, I'll be arrested for disturbing the peace. I'd also get in trouble for swearing in front of little children, but there's little kids all over there," says Austin.
Protesters say if women are silenced inside the Capitol, they'll continue to speak outside.
"If those men had any dignity they would think about apologizing for taking away their right to speak," says protester Jennifer Hill.
House leaders say the women weren't banned because one lawmaker said "vagina," but instead because of their behavior during the debate.
They also say the legislation was not meant to attack women but to protect them from bad abortion providers and unsanitary conditions at clinics.
Reported by Alex Shabad in Lansing