Abortion

"Fascinating": Anti-Abortion Idaho Pol Says He Knew That Vagina & Stomach Aren't Connected

Anti-abortion legislators are using bogus safety concerns about telemedicine to win victories that they cannot via straight-up political arguments.

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Back in February, Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri became Internet famous when he posed a question about abortions and telemedicine in late February. And by "Internet famous," I mean he became a cyberweb laughingstock, most recently being made fun of just last night on Comedy Central's new and funny The Nightly Show featuring Larry Wilmore.

The Idaho state legislature was debating a bill to place restrictions on chemically induced abortions and the doctor testifying was suggesting that performing colonscopies via telemedicine was more dangerous to the patient than an abortion caused by pharmaceuticals. After the doctor explains that the sort of capsule-based camera one swallows for a stomach- or colon-based procedure wouldn't work for a gynecological one—for anatomical reasons—Barbieri ends his questioning with that classic vague sign-off: "Fascinating."

He told The Spokesman-Review that his line of questioning was "rhetorical":

 "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."

The committee voted in favor of restricting what one anti-abortion lobbyists called "webcam abortions." For his part, Barbieri is bullish on telemedicine as long as it is used to perform procedures of which he approves.

"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. I'm convinced that when a woman becomes pregnant she is no longer taking food for herself, but there is another now involved in the mother's health, and this is a proper role of government to protect life."

It's one thing to argue that abortion should be outlawed. It's another to conflate a pro-life position with medical expertise and concerns for safety of the pregnant woman (especially when medical experts agree that a chemically induced abortion is safe). One of Barbieri's colleagues was blunter in acknowledging that the goal here is not to protect the safety of the patient but to make it more difficult to get an abortion:

"In my view, HB 154 may indeed reduce the number of abortions that take place. And from the very beginning of my political career, I took the oath to protect the unborn child. And I know we all have different views on this subject, but because they are so helpless and so vulnerable, we've got to step up."

Across the country, anti-abortion legislators are using bogus safety concerns such as those about telemedicine to win victories that they cannot via straight-up political arguments or votes. Arguably the most effective approach has been to try and use onerous building codes and other laws to shut down existing abortion facilities on false safety grounds. Ironically, that means that conservative lawmakers promulgate exactly the sort of ineffective and unnecessary rules and regulations for which they typically attack liberals. And liberals, to complete the hypocrisy, say that less regulation and state oversight is a good thing, at least in this instance.

Serious principle and honest conversation are in such damned short supply in politics.

That process is explored in this Reason TV video, "Abortion Rights vs. Women's Safety in Virginia."

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  1. Colonoscopies are similar because you spend the whole day before aborting everything from your bowels.

    1. And this is why I need Lizzie Warren to win the Democratic nomination…. so that I buy myself at least 8 years before having to discover what a colonoscopy feels like.

      1. It feels like nothing compared to the prep, which is as Fist describes.

  2. The Idaho state legislature was debating a bill to place restrictions on chemically induced abortions and the doctor testifying was suggesting that performing [colonoscopies] via telemedicine was more dangerous to the patient than an abortion caused by pharmaceuticals.

    I am sure that is correct as long as you completely brush off the side the notion that the fetus is a PATIENT.

    Murderous, creepy assholes.

  3. Across the country, anti-abortion legislators are using bogus safety concerns such as those about telemedicine to win victories that they cannot via straight-up political arguments or votes.

    Anti-abortion arguments are not political. They’re moral and ethical arguments based on the Non-Aggression Principle: It is wrong to take a human life – PERIOD.

    1. These are not ethical concerns because the human right to control the self makes this right inviolate, as in a right that may not be abridged in any way. Um… NO; It is not always wrong to take a human life when done to prevent a vastly greater evil event.

      It is improper aggression to prohibit an act that is necessary to prevent harm.

    2. The Non-Aggression Principle is limited. Libertarian principle allows taking a human life under many circumstances! For instance, you are allowed to use deadly force against a trespasser on your property who refuses to leave when ordered. If the trespasser is located inside your body, even more so. If the trespasser is furthermore preparing to subject you to major medical/surgical trauma such as childbirth against your will and without your continuing consent, you are entitled to defend yourself with deadly force.

  4. Considering how many people are complete turds it’s only reasonable to assume that more than few babies must have been conceived in a stomach.

  5. Seriously, you’re going to accuse these legislators of covering up their prolife views, then quote them saying things like:

    “I’m convinced that when a woman becomes pregnant she is no longer taking food for herself, but there is another now involved in the mother’s health, and this is a proper role of government to protect life.”

    “In my view, HB 154 may indeed reduce the number of abortions that take place. And from the very beginning of my political career, I took the oath to protect the unborn child. And I know we all have different views on this subject, but because they are so helpless and so vulnerable, we’ve got to step up.”

    And how does this violate pro-freedom principles, any more than Wilberforce was trying to violate freedom when he sought restrictions on the Atlantic slave trade. What a hypocrite!

    1. He lost me at “and this is a proper role of government to protect life.”
      I’d like to see the enabling legislation on that one, let alone “And from the very beginning of my political career, I took the oath to protect the unborn child.”

      Links! Statutes!
      And links or references to biblical quotes are NOT valid ‘arguments.’

      Such a bigoted moron he is!

  6. I’d just like to point out, for the millionth time, that Barack Obama looks straight into the camera and says stuff dumber than that about how the economy works…every. single. day.

    And it needs to be pointed out a million times.

  7. The abortion rights movement has been using bogus hyperbolic safety concerns to justify unrestricted abortion as birth control for decades.

    Live by bogus concerns, die by bogus concerns.

    1. BACK ALLEY ABORTIONS! ALL THE WOMEN WILL DIE!

    2. Wait, was that in ? Because I thought you were going to refer to the Anti-Abortion groups’ bogus and hyperbolic safety concerns…

      Do you have any data on what percentage of abortions are “for birth control purposes only”?

      Didn’t think so…

      1. Was that in “Ironic font” ?… the software here can’t understand “ironic font” when it’s between left and right arrows…
        Sad.

  8. I admire their means, just not their ends.

  9. ..”especially when medical experts agree that a chemically induced abortion is safe”…

    Citation, please. Nick, women have died from RU486. And the ones that don’t still can go through days of excruciating pain and massive bleeding.

    The issue is that women are given these prescriptions and sent home with their DIY abortion meds, where they’re not monitored and rarely warned of the extreme physical experience they’re about to go through. Never mind the trauma of seeing their dead baby. These drugs are only supposed to be given up to the 7th week of pregnancy, but many clinics dispense them up to the 9th week. Google pics of a 7 week old miscarried baby (meaning the woman was 9 weeks pregnant). You have a baby with eyes, a mouth, arms, and legs. Far more formed than most women are prepared to see.

    1. Citation… http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs…..rtion.html

      Unless you choose to not believe the data or the source, which makes this discussion about as useless as typical ‘discussions’ of Global Warming or Politics or Religion, where “my source is valid and Your Source is The Devil’s Own Spawn.”

      Call it..

    2. RE: “Women have died from RU486”: True, but only a very small NUMBER of women. An RU486 abortion is safer than driving to work, and many times safer than childbirth.

  10. “Anti-abortion legislators are using bogus safety concerns about telemedicine to win victories that they cannot via straight-up political arguments.”

    Um, if it were a straight-up political argument, abortion would be illegal in Idaho. It is an incoherent, point-missing Supreme Court decision, defended in emotional terms, that has proven insurmountable.

  11. Also, since when should Libertarians be concerned about whether this or that person is lampooned on Comedy Central? If you come out saying the Civil Rights Act of 1964 wasn’t a great idea, you’ll become a laughing stock and lampooned on Comedy Central. If you suggest the 2nd amendment was intended to allow an armed citizenry to rise against government, you’ll become a laughing stock and lampooned on Comedy Central.

    Why should anyone care if borderline retarded pro-choice progressives laugh at them?

    As far as the charge of conservative hypocrisy. Conservatives are not opposed to regulation qua regulation. They are opposed to regulating good things in an effort to refine them to accord with the government’s will.

    That approach is problematic, certainly, but it is the approach conservatives take. They forthrightly recognize regulations place a burden on the business being regulated.

    1. They forthrightly INTEND that regulations place a burden on the business being regulated.

  12. Abortion is an inalienable Ninth Amendment human right to control the self privately that has always existed but not been enumerated by the Constitution. This human right was recognized by McCorvey v Wade, (1973) and supported by the right to privacy that is not enumerated by the Constitution either. Edwards v Beck, (2015) will soon recognize the inalienable human right to abort prevails until 12-weeks and development of a human heartbeat. AR Act 139 and this Idaho law attempt to pass a Catholic law like AR recently did that violates the inalienable Ninth Amendment human right to control the self privately.
    AR Act 301 Appeal Replacement-Amicus-Reply-Brief.pdf Ruling still pending 03/11/2015.

    The human right to abort for 12-weeks will soon be as strong and as much a natural human right as the human right to masturbate or the fundamental human right to reject Jesus, Mohammad, God or Allah.

    1. “The human right to abort for 12-weeks will soon be as strong and as much a natural human right as the human right to masturbate or the fundamental human right to reject Jesus, Mohammad, God or Allah.”

      What is so magical about the 13th week of pregnancy that suddenly gives that baby rights he or she didn’t have prior?

      1. 7*12= 84. 85 is wrong. 86 is wronger.

  13. If the vagina and stomach belong in the same human then they are indeed attached. The right to control the stomach, the vagina, and uterus are equal.

  14. “Abortion Rights vs. Women’s Safety in Vagina.”

  15. If politicians could stay out of medicine and doctors could stop acting like politicians, when they worry about their turf, maybe medicine could advance! Thing is, there are plenty of internists, gynecologists, and surgeons who argue about who should be doing which of the endoscopic procedures. Funny thing is, none of them care about the education their competitors have. They just care about what they can do about making them exclusive, to their specific specialty or sub-specialty. As a result, they are forcing people, in small towns, to be bussed into regional medical centers. Thus, making sure they can maintain a good profit level to pay those million dollar regional hospital administrators. In the end, it is not showing much of a “caring” attitude that the patients deserve, but no longer can expect.

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