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COLUMN

Happytown

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While those of us living in Happytown™ were hunkered down in our bathtubs last week, trying to hide from the funnel clouds and monsoon rains raging outside, it was business as usual in Tallahassee. And by business as usual we mean Republicans finding innovative new ways to clamp down on women's reproductive organs.

Last week, Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, was chastised by Republican leadership when he uttered the name of a body part during a debate on the floor of the House. To be more specific, he suggested that his wife "incorporate her uterus" as a means to stop Republicans - always up for a little uterine regulation in the form of pro-life legislation, and healthy doses of deregulation when it comes to handling corporations - from pushing their anti-abortion agenda.

A stunned gasp was heard throughout the gallery - ladies fainted and men rushed in to cover the virgin ears of the children listening to the debate. The color drained from the cheeks of GOP leaders who deemed Randolph a potty mouth and chastised him for using the real word for a woman's baby-docking station in public.

As was reported in multiple media outlets (mortifyingly, many of them national), GOP spokeswoman Katie Betta said the Speaker of the House expected members to be "mindful of and respectful to" visitors and guests, "particularly the young pages and messengers" seated in the chamber. "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," she said.

These teenage pages and messengers are, it seems, old enough to get a hands-on education in backroom dealing and corruption in politics, but too young to hear grownups use the real names for body parts in public. Right.

So, ladies, take note: Your uteri make boys blush and Republicans uncomfortable. We shall never speak of them again.

Speaking of things that make Republicans uncomfortable: Planned Parenthood!

While legislators in Washington campaign to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions, Planned Parenthood continues to prove that it does stuff other than provide abortions. The Greater Orlando branch of the group announced on Mar. 31 that it was joining 
forces with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage young people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases in honor of National STD Awareness Month.

As an incentive, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando is offering discounted rates throughout the remainder of the year for its catch-all test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis: teens pay $35, while adults pay $60. (The usual going rates are $105 and $130, respectively.) There's no discount for herpes testing, unfortunately, which will still run you an extra 20 bucks.

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