Last week, on the floor of the Florida House, Representative Scott Randolph used a word that earned him a rebuke from GOP spokesperson, Katie Betta:
“The Speaker has been clear about his expectations for conduct on the House for during debate. At one point during the debate, he mentioned to the entire House that members of both parties needed to be mindful of decorum during debate.”
What was this filthy, awful, nasty word he used, a word so foul as to constitute a break of decorum? Uterus. Randolph made a joke which he credited to his wife theorizing that if she would incorporate her uterus, the GOP would be less interested in regulating her private decisions. Betta went on to explain that the GOP was only thinking of the children:
Additionally, the Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery.
Of course. Because showing up to public hearings in the hopes they might hear hot anatomical terms is how everyone in Florida gets their kicks. As soon as I heard about this, I opened up a text pad and started writing a erotic novel I’m tentatively titling Bodily Autonomy, marketed to the salacious tastes of the average Floridian.* A sample:
Ovaries. Uterus. Gametes. Fallopian Tubes. Vulva. Tibia. Ovaries. Uterus. Pelvic Exam. Testicles. Vas Deferens. Endometrium. Pap Smear. Rights.
This is the same state, it is important to remember, where George Rekers was paid 120,000 dollars to spew anti-gay bigotry and junk science in order to prevent gays and lesbians from adopting. Maybe if they would invite real experts and real scientists to testify before the legislature they wouldn’t be so squeamish about people using medical terms on the House floor.
When the Florida GOP tries to excise the word uterus from the political discourse, they are stigmatizing the bodies of millions of Americans so they can take away the rights of those Americans with impunity. They are teaching young Floridians that anatomical knowledge is taboo and scary and utterly failing their duty to produce educated citizens. So when the Florida GOP asks “Will somebody think of the children?” my response is “WE ARE.”
*h/t to @AndThenKeirSaid for taking a good joke and making it a GREAT joke.