By Bill Maher
Republicans usually talk about vaginas like shadows on the wall of Plato’s cave. Like we can only understand the vagina in theory, and its actual existence is something we take on faith. But that wasn’t exactly what happened recently in Idaho.
According to the Star Tribune, a doctor named Julie Madsen was testifying against a ban on doctors prescribing abortion pills through telemedicine – basically, by Skype. She was explaining that it was safe, and medicine makes technological advances all the time; for instance, colonoscopy patients can swallow a camera to give doctors a look at their colon. And a Republican Idaho state representative named Vito Barbieri asked: "Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?"
And Madsen explained that, in, you know, mammals, swallowed objects don’t end up in the womb. "Fascinating. That makes sense," Barbieri said.
Later, Barbieri said that the question was rhetorical. (Ah, rhetoric! Of course! He wasn’t being ignorant; he was being Socratically ignorant.)
And here was his point: For every 21st century scientific advance that allows a woman not to have a baby, there must be an equal but opposite Vito Barbieri.
Barbieri wants to make abortions impossible. That means closing down all the clinics and writing a law against out-of-state doctors prescribing drugs after a teleconference. For “safety.” And that requires pretending that reproductive anatomy is more complicated than cold fusion, so if a doctor tries to do it by Skype, the patient will die. And maybe the doctor too. Who knows.
Barbieri isn’t really asking a stupid question about where lemonade and fudge is made. He’s asking a pretend stupid question, to get the same answer: It’s impossible to know where babies come from, so doctors (and women) should butt out and let it happen.