Michigan woman appalled by the spate of anti-women bills being promoted by the Michigan GOP came to the Capitol in droves again yesterday, including for a rally called Women Take Over the Capitol, sponsored by the Michigan Women’s Power Assembly. The video above features footage of:
- Andrea Hunter – United Steel Workers
- Katie Oppenheim – Michigan Nurses Association
- Aku Moon – Breastfeeding Mothers Unite
- Millie Hall – the Coalition of Labor Union Women
The Michigan GOP touched off a firestorm in June when it silenced Rep. Lisa Brown and Rep. Barb Byrum when they tried to speak out against the “Abortion Super Bill” when it passed by a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The resulting furor persuaded Eve Ensler to stage her famous Vagina Monologues on the Capitol steps, drawing national and international attention to the Republicans’ arrogant dismissal of women’s voices.
Wednesday, July 18 was scheduled to be the only day that the legislature goes back in session before going back on vacation until after the August primaries, so women’s groups pounced on the chance to be heard. The Million Moms March held a rally, and women were encouraged to protest a GOP “tort reform” bill that would term the work done by stay-at-home-moms as “non-economic.” The lobbyist from the Michigan Medical Association was quoted as saying, “We just don’t think doctors should have to pay for parents to read to their children.”
The Senate was scheduled to hold a hearing on SB 975, which would allow medical personnel to exercise a religious objection to delivering any kind of treatment or medicine they felt violated their religious code. But word of the women coming to the Capitol apparently persuaded the Senate GOP leadership to cancel at the last minute.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered 100,000 petition signatures to Speaker of the House Jase Bolger’s office asking that the GOP leadership apologize to Byrum and Brown. Eclectablog is also reporting that State Senator Barb Byrum was again prevented from speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Why is the Michigan GOP escalating its war on women? Is Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger trying to divert attention for calls from the red-hot scandal where he colluded with Rep. Roy Schmidt to recruit a sham candidate to run against him as a way of precluding a write-in campaign?
The Detroit Free Press today published an editorial about the duo under the headline “No room for dirty tricks in our House.” The editorial called on Schmidt to step down but it stopped short of asking Bolger to do the same, saying that if he stays, it should be with renewed humility.
While it bothered me to see the ostensibly progressive Freep pull its punches on Bolger, what really upset me was there was no reference to his high-handed treatment of women as an important example of his failure of leadership. The editorial notes Bolger’s unethical practice of quick-stepping votes that allow new laws to take immediate effect, even when it is clear they have not attained the required two-thirds majority. But it makes no mention of the news release issued by Bolger’s office that the women representatives were throwing a “tantrum”, followed by one that said Rep. Brown was silenced for a “rape reference” when she said “no means no.” Those sins seem more than worthy of censure as well.
The Freep editorial, as always, is unsigned, but weren’t there any women in the room? Or were they outvoted? It’s bad enough when your enemies vacillate between reviling and ignoring you, but it’s just awful when your friends do the same. Can’t we get no respect?