During a debate over an anti-abortion bill, a Republican lawmaker in Idaho asked Monday whether women can just swallow a tiny camera in order to conduct a gynecological exam remotely with a doctor.
According to the Associated Press, Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) posed the bizarre question to Dr. Julie Madsen, who was testifying against a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing medication abortion via webcam unless they have examined the woman in person. Madsen had to explain to Barbieri that swallowed items, like pills, do not land in the vagina.
The Idaho House State Affairs Committee advanced the "Physician Physical Presence and Women Protection Act" by a party-line vote of 13 to 4. Proponents of the bill said making medication abortion more difficult to access would give women more time to change their minds about having an abortion, while opponents said the bill would only interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
Barbieri told The Spokesman-Review that he was trying to make a point in response to the doctor's testimony that some colonoscopy patients are able to conduct exams remotely by swallowing a small camera.
"I was being rhetorical, because I was trying to make the point that equalizing a colonoscopy to this particular procedure was apples and oranges," he said. "So I was asking a rhetorical question that was designed to make her say that they weren't the same thing, and she did so. It was the response I wanted."
This story has been updated with a comment from Barbieri.