Maybe Legislators Need Remedial Anatomy Class

I‘ve long said that as bad as Congress is, if you really want to find a collection of halfwits and whackjobs, you have to look to the state legislatures. A member of the Idaho House of Representatives provided more evidence for that position in a recent hearing:

An Idaho lawmaker revealed his confusion about female anatomy during a legislative debate over a proposed abortion bill on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) asked a doctor testifying before the House State Affairs Committee whether a woman could have a remote gynecological exam by swallowing a tiny camera. Dr. Julie Madsen told him no, that’s not possible, because items that are swallowed do not end up in the vagina…

“I just want to point out that I think from my perspective, telemedicine has great advantages,” Barbieri said. “It’s important to recognize cost savings, ease of use, accessibility. However, there are certain examinations and procedures which require personal hands-on exams, and I think this is one of them.”

The GOP lawmaker, who sits on the board of a right wing “crisis pregnancy center” that works to dissuade women from choosing abortion, added that “this is a proper role of government to protect life.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    It’s because in general, real people with real jobs aren’t interested in going into politics. What is the appeal of politics to a research scientist, a professor, a writer, etc…were stuck with vague categories like ‘businessman’ or ‘investor’ or any one of the parasites of the rentier class …And the ONE profession that politics IS lousy with is lawyers. Far too little variety, and the few ‘job types’ attracted to politics also happen to be the sleaziest and most dishonest…surprise surprise

  • alanb

    Mr. Barbieri has since posted a response on his Facebook page.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hNIX7V21pU

  • D. C. Sessions

    Maybe he has some other agenda (and some personal issues too.) After all, if he can persuade women that whatever goes in their mouths can end up in their reproductive system they may change some of their sexual practices.

  • mudskipper

    So a man who fails basic (very basic) anatomy feels he can judge what medical procedures are appropriate for telemedicine.

    Right.

  • John Pieret

    Maybe he isn’t a halfwit or a whackjob. Maybe he’s somehow suffered brain damage. We should do a colonoscopy to check that out.

  • abb3w

    Maybe another legislator can use this as a basis to try and introduce a law to mandate comprehensive sex education: “It seems clear that it is a major failure of our state’s education system if there are adults so grotesquely ignorant of the human reproductive system as to think that a woman’s vagina is connected to her digestive tract. “

    Hey, I can dream.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    C’mon folks, give him some credit. He just found out that it wasn’t the stork who brought babies. The whole biology thing is new and scary to him.

    A tad OT: Every time someone writes “halfwit,” I’m reminded of this exchange from The Princess and the Pirate:

    Featherhead Walter Brennan): My brother’s twice as smart as I am.

    Sylvester the Great (Bob Hope): Oh, a halfwit.

    Rep. Barbieri makes me think more of Featherhead than his brother.

  • Chiroptera

    Dr. Julie Madsen told him no, that’s not possible, because items that are swallowed do not end up in the vagina…

    Was she able to answer that question without bursting into tears? ‘Cause i’m pretty sure I would have started crying.

  • llewelly

    Now this character is trying to argue his statement was some kind of clever rhetorical trick ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vito_Barbieri ). Apparently he learned such smart rhetorics at Western State College of Law at Argosy University. Folks, this is the kind of rhetoric you learn at a for-profit law school.

  • eava

    I don’t think he was asking a real question. I think he was trying to make a rhetorical point or get an admission from the doctor who was testifying that you can’t do a gynecological exam via telemedicine. Although why it would be necessary for a woman to have a pelvic exam before taking ru-486 is beyond me.

  • lorn

    Real men don’t know jack about lady parts.

  • NYC atheist

    @5 John

    no no no, everyone knows you go through the ear to get to the brain. Much faster.

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    And then there’s the Nevada “legislator” Michele Fiore, who wants to cure cancer with baking soda. These people should have stuck with “I’m not a scientist, but …” Except they should stop before the “but”.

    Barbieri should get together with Todd Akin. With their shared understanding of human anatomy and physiology, they could probably win the Nobel in medicine.

  • anubisprime

    If that particular idiot displays the average quality of smarts gifted to the majority of politicians in the legislative…yous folks are ‘fucked’

    Jus’ sayin’

  • macallan

    @12 – true, but he’s got his ass so in order to get to the ear…

  • macallan

    gah, let’s tru again

    @12 – true, but he’s got his head waaaay up his ass, so in order to get to the ear…

  • macallan

    Dammit I can’t type worth crap today. I blame coffee. Lack thereof.

  • dingojack

    macallan — Perhaps you should drink said coffee using your reproductive organs…

    😉 Dingo

  • birgerjohansson

    I think some tortoises can absorb oxygen through their cloaca, so ingesting caffeine the same way may not be impossible if you belong to the right (wrong?) species.

  • birgerjohansson

    He also voted against telemedicine in conection with abortions…I am not sure why.

    TV screens emit abortion-rays?

  • gshelley

    He said it was a rhetorical question and he was trying to make a point, but I am not convinced – this argument doesn’t make any sense

  • abb3w

    birgerjohansson:

    I think some tortoises can absorb oxygen through their cloaca, so ingesting caffeine the same way may not be impossible if you belong to the right (wrong?) species.

    Since caffeine can also be taken up through human skin (the diffusion rate for caffeine through human skin is about 2 micrograms per squared centimeter of skin, per hour†), presumably any mucus membrane would be at least as effective.

    † Source: (doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2004.02.004)

  • dingojack

    The average cup of coffee has 95 to 200 mg of caffeine (according to the Mayo Clinic). Therefore you’d need between 47,500 and 100,000 squared centimetres to deliver the hit over an hour. The skin on a human covers between about 1.5 and 2 square meters…

    :) Dingo

  • eric

    Barbieri: proof that Abstinence Only education is having the desired effect.

  • eric

    @20:

    He also voted against telemedicine in conection with abortions…I am not sure why.

    Seriously? That’s easy – because he wants to make the process as onerous as possible on the woman. The whole goal is putting practical difficulties in place. Being able to get approval over the phone/computer makes it easier for women to do, so he’s opposed to it.

  • caseloweraz
  • eric

    @26: I don’t doubt the basic story is true (about him sponsoring a bill etc.), but those quotes sound like he was having some fun with the reporter, not like he was communicating his serious convictions. I can’t take him to task for joking about centaurs and mermaids, I think it’s a good thing our representatives have a sense of humor.

    More seriously: wouldn’t his bill prevent us from using retroviral medicines and treatments? I would like to think that he hadn’t thought that deeply about it, rather than thinking that he considers that a feature rather than a bug (pun not intended).

  • thinkingman

    In all fairness, given the right’s obsession with gays and anal sex, the guy simply confused vagina and anus… happens to me all the time….

  • caseloweraz

    Eric: …those quotes sound like he was having some fun with the reporter…

    Hmm. First time through, I had the impression the reporter was having fun with him. But you may be right.

    More seriously: wouldn’t his bill prevent us from using retroviral medicines and treatments? I would like to think that he hadn’t thought that deeply about it, rather than thinking that he considers that a feature rather than a bug (pun not intended).

    It might, unless it were carefully written.