Friday, February 27, 2015

Yet another sign that many politicians are morons...

This morning I found this article posted on my Facebook.

It seems that at a recent House State Affairs Committee meeting in Boise, Idaho, Republican state Representative Vito Barbieri asked if a woman could swallow a tiny camera in order to allow a doctor to conduct a remote gynecological exam.  Mr. Barbieri asked his question after the committee had heard three hours of testimony on a bill that would prohibit doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication via telemedicine.

Fortunately, a competent physician was available to educate Barbieri on how female anatomy works.  Dr. Julie Madsen, who was testifying in opposition to the bill, explained to Barbieri that swallowed pills don't end up in vaginas.

Sadly, the crowd seemed to think this was hilarious.  According to the news article, people laughed when Barbieri said "Fascinating.  That certainly makes sense."  Bear in mind that Barbieri sits on a board of a crisis pregnancy center in northern Idaho.  Barbieri voted in favor of the legislation, which proponents say would help protect women from side effects of abortion-inducing drugs.  Those against the bill, including Dr. Madsen, say that the law would restrict abortions to women living in rural areas who are already very isolated.

Barbieri says his question was rhetorical and taken out of context.  He was actually trying to demonstrate how a chemical abortion was not the same as a colonoscopy, which the doctor had said was more dangerous than a chemical abortion.  His explanation follows.

“(The doctor) made the point that you could swallow a camera and from thousands of miles away, you could detect the state of that colonoscopy … My question was then, are you saying that you can swallow a camera and get the same results? Which is of course rhetorical,” Barbieri told Russell. “But she responded that of course you can’t swallow a pill and have it end up in your vagina. So my point was made. The point is that just because a colonoscopy is more dangerous and can be done from a distance, doesn’t mean that you can examine a woman at such distances, with a camera or anything else.”

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Here's a video of the proceedings...

Mr. Barbieri explains himself here...

Okay... so I get his point.  I still think it's ridiculous, though, because the point Dr. Madsen was making is that chemical abortions are very safe-- even safer than a colonoscopy done remotely is.  Could a woman end up in medical trouble after taking an abortifacient?  Yes, she could.  Is it likely?  No, it's probably not.  And there are rural areas in Idaho where telemedicine means the difference between a woman getting some timely medical care or not getting any at all. 

Mr. Barbieri, obviously caring so very much about the health and safety of women, thinks that medication that induces an abortion is potentially very unsafe and women need doctors nearby to take care of them when they expel the fetus because there could be "hemorrhaging".  I hemorrhage every month when I have a period.  Moreover, if a pregnant woman lives in a remote area where telemedicine is available because there aren't any doctors around, she's going to be at an elevated risk regardless.  She could get pregnant and still miscarry, which could also cause significant bleeding.  Is Barbieri saying that pregnant women should be forced to move to areas where they can easily be seen and monitored by a physician?  Because pregnancy can also be very dangerous for some women.  

The doctor's point is that technology has made it possible for people to work together in unprecedented and safe ways.  No, a colonoscopy is not the same procedure as a chemical abortion is, but that wasn't the main idea of what Dr. Madsen was suggesting.  

Fortunately, Mr. Barbieri will never be pregnant and thus will not ever face this dilemma himself.             


  1. This is neither here nor there, but with a name like Vito Barbieri, it seems unlikely the man was from one of the most heavily Mormon parts of the stagte. but seroiously, how did a man get elected to the position of U.S> Rep. with apparently not even a seventh-grade education. that's the grade at which life science is first taught in depth , an din which he should have learned that swallowing a camera in pill form wouldn't land the camera inside a vagina. His whole point seemed to be lacking in a point anyway, if that makes any sense.

    1. He's a lawyer, born in Texas-- Bexar County, I believe. He's probably Catholic.

      If you watch the video, you see that he was trying to be facetious, but instead just comes off as dumb. But as I said, his point is pretty idiotic anyway. From what I gather, the telemedicine is offered as an option to women who live far from medical services. A woman who is pregnant and has no access to medical care is probably more at risk than one who wants to have a chemical abortion.

      This is more about a man wanting to deny reproductive rights to women and kowtowing to the right wingers than a man who is "concerned" about women's health.


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