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Vito Barbieri is not as stupid as you think he is. (Okay, he is probably as stupid as you think he is.) But by donning the mantle of a complete buffoon who thinks -- we don't know, that you put Sheldon Adelson's aspirinin your vagina? -- he may have actually made a point about "telemedicine," and how you can't use it to look in a lady's cooter. (His point will turn out to be moot, but it IS ONE.)


Idaho's House State Affairs Committee held a hearing on Monday on the Physician Physical Presence and Women Protection Act, which would make it harder for women to obtain abortions and easier to sue abortion providers, so everyone wins, hooray! (Depending on your value for "everyone.") Specifically, the bill would prohibit abortion providers from prescribing chemical abortions -- a couple of pills -- through videoconferencing, aka telemedicine. That's something doctors do for patients who live in the outmost bumfuck regions where there are no abortion providers nearby. It's not something done in Idaho, but of course Republicans want to make extra special sure it will never be done in Idaho, because.

Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill -- probably because she's a doctor who understands how medicine works better than a bunch of Idaho Republicans who just want to ban abortion as hard as they can -- when state Rep. Vito Barbieri asked her to explain how remote colonoscopies work because isn't a colonoscopy and a gynecological exam sort of the same thing? (No, it is not.)

"You swallow a pill," Dr. Madsen said, "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."

Then Barbieri had a follow-up question. "Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy, swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?"

"It cannot be done in pregnancy," Dr. Madsen responded, "simply because when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina."

And then the room burst into laughter.

"Fascinating," Barbieri said. "That definitely makes sense, doctor."

The internet is having a pretty good time with that, because Barbieri was pretty stupid! But Barbieri may have been (again, may, but we are guessing he wasn't actually purposely dumbing it up like Columbo) stupid like a fox. After all, he had a (very stupid) point! You can't just shove a pill into your uterus and have a doctor reach through it to thump your cervix like a canteloupe. Ow!

Of course -- and you knew this was coming -- that's not how telemedicine and abortion actually work.

Here’s how it works: A woman goes into one of a handful of Planned Parenthood's health centers and talks with a nurse or medical assistant there. She then gets an ultrasound and some lab work done and is briefed on the specifics of the procedure. Finally, she has a video conference with a physician and the local clinician and decides whether a medically-induced abortion is the right course for her. If it is, the doctor checks a box on a computer screen, unlocking a cabinet holding the abortion medication. The woman takes the medication in the clinic while the doctor is watching and then takes the second pill at home 24 to 48 hours later.

Oh, so she sees a clinician and a nurse and an ultrasounder, and has an IN PERSON PHYSICAL EXAM with someone who can ensure the pregnancy isn't, say, ectopic, and so there's NO NEED FOR A PUSS CAMERA AT ALL?

Huh. Imagine that.

Barbieri is a big Facebook fan of liberty and guns, and a home-schooling advocate who thinks Christians should "pull their children out of Idaho’s 'Godless' public schools" so parents can learn 'em everything they need to know at home. That apparently does not include basic anatomy because why would anyone ever need to understand that?

He's also the board chairman of a crisis pregnancy center -- those fake "clinics" that are run by True Believers, as opposed to medical professionals like Dr. Madsen, where they tell women that God wants them to have that unplanned pregnancy, damnit, now here's a Bible and go away, praise the lord, amen.

Vito Barbieri is an asshole. But you know who sounds worse, and who won't get any of today's amazing bumper crop of Internet Mockery out of it? This guy:

"Other than the case of rape or incest, a person has taken willingly upon themselves the responsibility to nurture another life,” Rep. Ken Andrus said. “I think as legislators then we have that responsibility to protect that life in the best way we know how.”

NO THEY DIDN'T OR THEY WOULDN'T BE SEEKING ABORTIONS YOU DUMB FALSELY PIOUS FUCK. Gah, I hate you THE MOST because you are THE WORST. The end.

[TheAtlantic / Boise NPR]

Rebecca Schoenkopf

Rebecca Schoenkopf is the owner, publisher, and editrix of Wonkette. She is a nice lady, SHUT UP YUH HUH. She is very tired with this fucking nonsense all of the time, and it would be terrific if you sent money to keep this bitch afloat. She is on maternity leave until 2033.

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