Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) was well on his way to becoming a national laughingstock on Monday for his bungled understanding of the female anatomy — now you can listen to what he actually said.
As the Associated Press reported, Barbieri tried to compare telemedicine abortion procedures to colonoscopies during a meeting of the House State Affairs Committee. But his comeuppance was more thorough than wire reports suggested.
“You mention the risk of colonoscopy,” Barbieri told physician Julie Madsen. “Can that be done by drugs?”
“It can not be done by drugs,” Madsen replied. “It can, however, be done remotely, where you swallow a pill, and this pill has a little camera and it makes its way through your intestines, and those images are uploaded to a doctor who’s often thousands of miles away who then interprets that.”
“Can this same procedure be done in a pregnancy — swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is with the child?” Barbieri asked.
“It cannot be done in pregnancy simply because, when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina,” she answered prompting loud laughter from within the chamber.
“Fascinating,” Barbieri said. “That certainly makes sense, doctor.”
The exchange came as the committee discussed House Bill 154, which would ban health care providers from overseeing chemical abortions through video conferencing.
Barbieri, who is a board member for a “crisis pregnancy center” in in Coeur d’Alene and an advocate of home-schooling, said during the hearing that abortion is a procedure that requires a physician to be physically present.
But Madsen, who currently practices in the state, criticized the bill earlier in her testimony, saying it exposes a physician to potential lawsuits even if they did not violate any existing medical standard.
“I’m wary of a group of medical laypersons such as you specifying the nature of medicine, and that is exactly what this bill does,” she said. It specifies how a doctor provides medical care — including how the care is documented in the patient chart.”
Madsen and other critics of the bill testified on Monday that the bill would hurt women in rural areas who do not have access to reproductive health clinics or have to travel great distances to reach one. The committee approved the bill in a 13-4 vote along party lines, with Barbieri, meaning the Republican-controlled House will vote on it soon.
Listen to Madsen’s exchange with Barbieri, as posted online, below.
The entire hearing can be heard here. Madsen’s testimony begins around the 1:15:49 mark.
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