Washington, June 19 (ANI): A state lawmaker, who was barred from speaking in the Michigan House because Republicans objected to her saying vagina during debate over anti-abortion legislation performed 'The Vagina Monologues' on the Statehouse steps - with help from the author Eve Ensler.
The 59-year-old author, whose groundbreaking play about women's sexuality still packs theaters 16 years after it made its debut, oversaw Monday night's performance by Democratic state Representative Lisa Brown, 10 other lawmakers and several actresses.
Capitol facilities director Steve Benkovsky estimated that about 2,500 women and men sat on lawn chairs and blankets to take in the play in downtown Lansing.
It had rained in the city earlier in the day, but the play unfolded under sunny skies.
Billed on Facebook as the Vaginas Take Back the Capitol! event, the combination play and protest included political signs and chants of Vagina! Vagina!
Ensler, who took time away from a production of her new play that she is overseeing in California so that she could help put on Monday's performance, said that she was thrilled to be involved.
She likened the punishment that was meted out by the Republicans who control the Michigan 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, Fox News quoted Ensler as saying.
We're talking about the silencing of women, we're talking about censoring people for saying a body part.
Half of these people who are trying to regulate vaginas, they can't even say the word, she said.
Brown had made her comments during debate last week on a series of bills that supporters said would make abortions safer but that opponents said would dramatically reduce women's ability to get abortions.
While speaking against a bill requiring doctors to ensure women aren't coerced into ending their pregnancies, Brown told the Republicans, I'm flattered you're all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.
She was barred from speaking in the House during the next day's session. House Republicans said that they didn't object to her saying vagina.
They said Brown compared the legislation to rape, violating House decorum. Brown has denied the allegation.
Her comments compared the support of legislation protecting women and life to rape, and I fully support Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas' decision to maintain professionalism and order on the House floor, GOP Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, of Alto, said in a statement last week.
Democratic Representative Barb Byrum, of Onondaga, said that she was barred from speaking last Thursday because she referred to vasectomies during the debate.
I'm overwhelmed by how much attention we're getting around the world, Byrum said.
Before the play began, Ensler joined Brown and Byrum on the Capitol steps and called for an apology from the Republicans who had barred them from speaking. (ANI)