March is Women's History Month! Please consider a gift of $18 to JWA today, so we can continue bringing you the important, fascinating history of Jewish women. Donate here
Close [x]

Show [+]

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
Jewesses with Attitude

Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown: Jewish superhero for abortion

Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown is a champion. A hero. A "Jewess with Attitude" to the n'th degree. 

Yesterday, Rep. Brown stamped her name in indelible ink on the list of Jewish women who have raised their voices to fight for reproductive rights as Jewish women.

In the video below, you will see Rep. Brown and fellow Michigan Congresswomen Rep. Barb Byrum, Rep. Dian Slavens, and Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, speak out against new anti-abortion legislation.

Rep. Brown referenced her Jewish identity and beliefs as a way to frame reproductive rights as an issue of religious freedom with clarity, power, and enough chutzpah to make my jaw drop to the floor. 

Rep. Lisa Brown's remarks (She begins speaking at 0:24, this quote begins at 0:52):

"Yesterday we heard the Representative from Holland speak about freedom of religion. I'm Jewish. I keep Kosher in my home. I have two sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy and another two sets of dishes on top of that for Passover."

"Judaism believes that therapeutic abortions, namely abortions performed to save the life of the mother, are not only permissible but mandatory. The stage of pregnancy does not matter. Wherever there is a question of the life of the mother or that of the unborn child, Jewish law rules in favor of preserving the life of the mother. The status of the fetus as human life does not equal that of the mother. I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?"

"And finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina, but no means no."

I'm having trouble expressing just how inspired and excited I am by Rep. Brown's words and actions on the Michigan House floor. Let's just say I'm floored. So, rather than gush like a fangirl, I made these. (Please, feel free to share them.)

Rep. Lisa Brown

Rep. Lisa Brown

A million fist pumps, Rep. Brown. 

As a result of their courageous vocal opposition, Rep. Brown and Rep. Byrum were refused the right to speak on the House floor today

1 Comment

Refused the right to speak?!!! Is that even Constitutional? Shame on the House Speaker! If he can't even uphold freedom of speech, he shouldn't be where he is!

How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown: Jewish superhero for abortion." 15 June 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 27, 2017) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now


What is the best Jewish feminist tv show currently on tv?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



16 hr
Why do people always assume that authors' fiction works are autobiographical?
19 hr
Chancellor Merkel will be recognized by the Elie Wiesel Award.
22 hr
Love this interview with "honorary Jew" Jessica Chastain in about her new WW2 movie.