Vito Barbieri: Idaho Politician Asks If A Swallowed Pill Can Be Used For A Gynecological Exam

During debate in the Idaho House of Representatives Monday, as lawmakers were discussing abortion legislation, lawmaker Vito Barbieri asked if it’s possible that a woman can swallow a pill containing a camera to allow doctors to conduct a remote gynecological examination, the Daily Astorian is reporting.

Idaho’s House State Affairs Committee was debating HB 154, a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs through telemedicine — where the patient never sees a doctor in person. Some abortion opponents call this process “web cam” abortions, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

During the debate, Barbieri asked if a swallowed camera in a pill can allow doctors to conduct a gynecological exam remotely. A doctor testifying at the committee hearing, Dr. Julie Madsen, explained to Barbieri that it’s not possible since swallowed objects don’t end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense.”

Here is a diagram of the digestive system.

Diagram of the female digestive system.
Diagram of the female digestive system.

And here is a diagram of the female reproductive system.

Diagram of the female reproductive system.
Diagram of the female reproductive system.

As anyone who has ever taken an eighth-grade Sex Ed class should be able to tell you, the digestive system and reproductive system are completely separate.

Jezebel writer Kara Brown had a little fun with Barbieri’s ignorance.

“Republican State Representative Vito Barbieri from the state of Idaho thinks that a woman’s vagina has some sort of direct passageway to her stomach because, I mean, how else does the pee come out?”

With his gaffe, Vito Barbieri becomes just the latest in a long line of politicians — usually male, usually Republican, and usually speaking in the context of abortion rights — who have made embarrassing gaffes about the female body. Perhaps most famously was Missouri Republican Todd Akin, whose “legitimate rape” gaffe became something of a bit of shorthand for male politicians who want to regulate women’s bodies.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The bill Barbieri and his colleagues were debating when he made his embarrassing gaffe about the female anatomy was passed in a party-line vote, 13-4, with Barbieri and his Republican colleagues voting to send the “web cam abortion” restrictions to the full House to vote on, and the four Democrats on the committee voting against it.

[Images courtesy of: We The Jury, Childers, Schlueter & Smith, Brittany Foye]

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