An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam. The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine. Dr. Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.
To appreciate the absurdity of the situation, watch the video below to hear the laughter in the committee room following the exchange.
Barbieri, who has a history of far-right views and activism, sits on the board of a so-called "crisis pregnancy center," which tries to dissuade women from terminating pregnancies. Presumably, the Republican state lawmaker should be a little more familiar with human anatomy, particularly in the area of reproductive health.
The unfortunate exchange occurred during a hearing on legislation intended to "ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine" -- a practice that does not currently exist in Idaho. The state committee approved the bill on a party-line vote in the Republican-dominated legislature, and it now heads to the state House floor.
For his part, Barbieri told the Spokesman-Review late yesterday, "[Dr. Julie Madsen] 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. 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."
I will confess that I don't know what this explanation means.