Big girl talk is scary.  As a conservative man, how could it not be?  A strong grown up woman using the word vagina makes me just want to plug up my ears to keep the awful sound from penetrating.  My strongest desire is to run away screaming, “LALALALALALALALALALALA…”

Not really.  But that’s what big girls like state rep Lisa Brown and her supporters would like to think.  I’m sure she knows a great deal about her vagina, and maybe there’s as much interest in it at the state capital as she claims, but the floor debate really had nothing to do with her vagina, interesting as it may be.

As far as I'm concerned, Lisa Brown has revealed herself as a shallow, unserious person.  Abortion is an extraordinarily complicated and divisive issue.  If a fetus is a person, and this is the view of those who oppose abortion, none of the usual pro choice arguments come close to meeting the issue, especially the arguments of those preoccupied with their vaginas who think that “no means no” settles the issue.

Thankfully, Harry Blackmun wasn’t satisfied with such “reasoning.”  An extensive part of his opinion in Roe vs. Wade is centered on the question of when life begins.  Has Roe vs. Wade answered this question once and for all?  We know definitively when HUMAN life begins?  Ok.  So tell us what the difference is between a fetus just prior to birth, and a baby as its head emerges from the birth canal…excuses me, from the vagina.  What makes the baby just after birth a human being, while the fetus just prior to birth is not a human being?  And if it is a human being, if there is no way to distinguish between these two, how can one be killed without consequence while the other can't?  Who will argue that right up until delivery a baby may be treated however the mother pleases so long as it still clings to her uterus?  If killing the fetus could ease the delivery at all, a woman would be perfectly justified in doing so, under “it’s MY body” reasoning.  No?  Furthermore, a baby is in no way “viable” even after it emerges from its mother’s body; it continues to put all sorts of demands on her body.

These questions are treated in exquisite detail, with tremendous reverence and sensitivity in Jewish law.  I’m afraid Lisa's use of her religion is every bit as shallow and unserious as her concern with her vagina.  I wonder how much she knows or cares about the Jewish legal view of abortion.  If all she takes from her Jewish roots is that abortion is justified, even required, in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, it is clear she has no real interest in the view of her religion.  Does she oppose abortion in all cases other than danger to the mother’s life in child birth?  Jewish law, based on the word of God, does not support abortion; it weighs the life of the mother against the life of the unborn baby when a decision must be made for one or the other.  Otherwise, from what I understand, abortion is proscribed:

“Aborting an existing fetus is unequivocally prohibited. The famous Mishna (Ohalot 7:6) records:

"If a woman suffers hard labor in travail, the child (fetus) must be cut up in her womb and brought out piecemeal, for her life takes precedence over its life. If its greater part has already come forth, it must not be touched, for the [claim of one] life cannot supersede [that of another] life."

The first case mentioned in the mishna sanctions killing the fetus only because of the danger posed to the mother's life (implying that, in general, abortion of the fetus is prohibited).”

For those who care about the issue in all its complexity, the extraordinarily delicate and extensive treatment found in Jewish law, and Jewish commentary on the law, would be a very good place to start.  Just don’t expect Lisa Brown to lead the discussion.  “No means no,” settles it for her.

When we discussed this on the radio, my co-host, Brenda Brissette-Mata, thought it was ridiculous that Lisa Brown was prohibited from speaking on the floor afterward.  She fairly snickered at the sensitivity of men like representative, Mike Callton.  He was offended by the way in which Lisa concluded her remarks:  “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no’.”

Lisa Brown was offensive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally in favor of vaginas, but there’s a time and a place.  I know you girls like to giggle about male discomfort over female anatomy talk, but that’s not what this was; Lisa Brown wasn’t concerned with anatomical accuracy, she wanted to get a rise and she did.  Vagina talk does that.  Her vagina, interesting as I’m sure it is, is irrelevant.  For me the offensiveness is more about her narcissistic obscurantism.  As Doctor Phil might say, “It ain’t about your vagina!”

On the radio, Brenda also got riled up when I asked about using the “C” word, rather than vagina.  Apparently there are still some offensive words we all agree on.  Maybe some day, in a more enlightened time, we'll get past this squeamishness.