Peter Hansen, New Hampshire Lawmaker, Calls Women ‘Vaginas’ in Email to Colleagues
A Republican New Hampshire lawmaker referred to women as “vaginas” in an email to colleagues on the official legislative electronic mailing list earlier this month, drawing outrage from his own party.
State Rep. Peter Hansen (R) made the comment, first reported by New Hampshire political blogger Susan the Bruce, in an April 1 email debate with colleagues about a “stand your ground” gun bill. Hansen’s colleague, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) had delivered a lengthy floor speech about the benefits of retreating instead of using deadly force, to which Hansen replied in an email:
What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims.
State Rep. Rick Watrous (D) immediately criticized Hansen for his choice of words. “Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really?” he wrote. “Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve [SIC].”
State Republican chair Jennifer Horn denounced Hansen’s comments as “disrespectful and shameful.”
“Representative Hansen’s comments are crude, offensive and have no place in public discourse,” Horn said in a statement Tuesday. “There is no excuse for anybody to use such disrespectful language — especially an elected official. I strongly condemn his disrespectful and shameful remarks.”
Hansen’s comments are particularly bold in New Hampshire, the only state with a female governor and an all-female delegation to Congress. The speaker of the state House and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court also are both women.
Hansen initially did not back down. But on Tuesday, he claimed his comments were misinterpreted and he apologized “to those who took offense.”