House Dem backs Mich. legislator silenced for 'vagina' remark

The petition denounces the gag orders and asks Michigan House GOP leaders to apologize to the two Democrats. It had 49,369 signatures at the time of this post. 

In a video, Peters urged supporters to circulate the petition further.

"As the number of folks signing this petition grows," he said, "so does our ability to stand up against Republican efforts to undermine women's health issues."

A spokesman for Michigan House Speaker James Bolger (R) responded with frustration that the incident had become politicized.

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"We are done commenting on the specific issue because the Democrats are using it as a distraction," Ari Adler told The Hill, "and we have important work that needs to get done."

He said that Brown was censured because her comments equated support of the bill "with rape."

Brown's original comment came during heated debate over a bill to more strictly regulate abortion clinics. She told Republicans: "I’m flattered you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."

Byrum's "vasectomy" remark referred to her amendment to ban the procedure except in the case of medical emergencies.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is behind the petition, has launched online ads targeting Bolger and another GOP leader in response to the scandal.