Basically, during a debate about union dues, one of the Democratic legislators from the House used a flippant line that mentioned his wife's uterus. The Republican leadership chastised him on the floor for using that language, especially considering that the pages and messengers were present in the room, and some young members of the public could have been present in the gallery. Apparently, the Speaker found the language to be in violation of decorum.
Seriously, folks, it doesn't matter what your background, your party affiliation, or religious morals are. If you find the word "uterus" offensive to children, I am stunned. He said uterus! You know, the place where babies grow. He could have said any number of five-letter "P" words or other words that, I admit, could have run the gamut from distasteful to offensive, especially according to the standards of decorum on the House floor. But uterus? Seriously - uterus? Was this chastisement an early April Fools joke?
I can only think of the following possible explanations to this:
1. In the recent past, when abortion was being explicitly debated or discussed on the floor, House leadership (who overwhelmingly identify as pro-life) advised young members of the gallery, as well as the pages and messengers, to be leave the room during the debate because of the subject matter.
To my knowledge, stories told about violent crime episodes haven't historically received the same kind of sensitive treatment during House debates, but I could be wrong.
2. Perhaps House leadership was caught off-guard about the comparison to abortion, and didn't like it, and thus wanted to teach Rep. Randolph a lesson by taking him to task in public.
3. Perhaps some in the House believed that the phrase "if my wife's uterus was incorporated" is really a dirty, liberal slang term for sex.
I cannot otherwise believe that the House would seriously consider the word "uterus" to be for adults only. If these kids don't (or shouldn't) know what a uterus is, then our state is in bigger trouble than I thought.
I guess when my kids begin to study human anatomy, I will have to use the euphemism "womb" instead, so as not to offend them. (The Democratic Underground's website beat me to a list of anatomical euphemisms, but they are too offensive to link here, haha.)
Or perhaps their idea comes from this:
from Aretaeus the Cappadocian
Hippocratic writer of the second century CE
“In the middle of the flanks of women lies the womb, a female viscus, closely resembling an animal; for it is moved of itself hither and thither in the flanks, also upwards in a direct line to below the cartilage of the thorax and also obliquely to the right or to the left, either to the liver or spleen; and it likewise is subject to falling downwards, and, in a word, it is altogether erratic. It delights, also, in fragrant smells, and advances towards them; and it has an aversion to fetid smells, and flees from them; and on the whole the womb is like an animal within an animal.”
Yeah, I'd be scared of them uteruses, too, if I subscribed to this thought.