Since 2011, states across the country have passed a wave of laws restricting access to abortion — laws introduced by politicians who want to play the role of “doctor” and interfere in women’s medical decisions. These gynoticians aren’t slowing down, and one cropped up in Idaho who is so intent on inserting himself into women’s exam rooms that he made our Gynotician Hall of Shame.
During a hearing at the Idaho House, legislators heard testimony about a bill that would ban doctors from using telemedicine (which incorporates video conferencing and in-person care) to provide medication abortion.
Real doctors, including the ones at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose bills like this. Why? Here are just three reasons:
- Telemedicine is a safe and effective method for providing medication abortion.
- Medication abortion itself is a safe and effective method to end early-stage pregnancies that has been widely available in the United States for over a decade (in fact, one in four women in the United States use this method if it’s an option). It gives a woman the option of ending a pregnancy in the comfort of her own home.
- Laws that restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion actually prevent doctors from giving their patients the best health care possible in any individual situation.
But politicians often are not real doctors. So we were just appalled — but not surprised — when this happened:
Want more context? Here’s their full exchange:
- Rep. Vito Barbieri: “You mentioned the risk of colonoscopy, can that be done by drugs?”
- Dr. Julie Madsen: “It cannot be done by drugs. It can, however, be done remotely where you swallow a pill and this pill has a little camera, and it makes its way through your intestines and those images are uploaded to a doctor who’s often thousands of miles away, who then interprets that.”
- Rep. Vito Barbieri: “Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?”
- Dr. Julie Madsen: “It cannot be done in pregnancy, simply because when you swallow a pill, it would not end up in the vagina.” (Hoots of laughter from the audience)
- Rep. Vito Barbieri: “Fascinating. That certainly makes sense, doctor.”
The exchange led to tweets like this one:
With Women’s History Month starting in just a few days, situations like this beg the question: What side of history are gynoticians like Rep. Barbieri going to be on? With their track record, it looks like they are going to be on the side that is holding women back. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: We’re going to continue advocating for policies that really help women access the care when and where they need it. We’re fighting back in Idaho, and across the country. And we won’t give up.
If you’re tired of hearing gynoticians like Rep. Barbieri legislate women’s bodies without knowing anything about them, sign on to our gynotician petition!