This website is made possible by generous donations from users just like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day.  Please consider making a gift to JWA today!
Close [x]


You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

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

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
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!

Subscribe to Jewish Women, Amplified and get notifications sent to your email.

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 December 12, 2018) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now


How do you prefer your latkes?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



53 min
RT : Helen Klaben was only 20 when the small plane she was in crashed into a mountain in the Yukon in 1963. For 49 days…
1 hour
"There is no “It’s Complicated” genre, one that might attempt to at least acknowledge that books, like their author…
2 hr
We're with you, . Can you see us rolling our eyes from NYC? 🙄