Repro Wrap: Babies Aren’t In Your Stomach and Other News

The biggest news of the week (or at least the most covered) had to be the story of the Idaho lawmaker caught on video during testimony asking if a woman who swallowed a camera would be able to take pictures of her vagina.

Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri became a national punchline after a report of his testimony during the debate on a bill that would massively restrict telemedicine abortion in the state included a quote where he asked if a woman “can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.” The doctor responded with the medically accurate statement that a camera that is swallowed would not go to the vagina.

The exchange opened Barbieri up to ridicule across the country. Salon interviewed an OB-Gyn to rub it in further. Jesse Berney at Blue Nation Review drew a helpful illustration explaining anatomy. Most of the rest of us just laughed.

Barbieri, meanwhile, says he wasn’t suggesting he believed the stomach and vagina was connected. He claims he was trying to facetiously explain why, in comparison to telemedicine for a colonoscopy, telemed for an abortion is completely different. But, he admits, maybe he said it wrong and he needs to be more careful about being more obvious with his sarcasm next time.

It’s understandable how someone could take his comment seriously, though. A new campaign to offer pregnancy tests in bar restrooms in Alaska has the same “facetious” issue, with a photo implying that drinking alcohol goes straight to the fetus in your belly. While fetal alcohol syndrome campaigns are laudable, and yay for free condoms at the bar to help with unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, surely we have to have a better way to get the message across?

Meanwhile, the Idaho bill hearings were protested by abortion rights activists–but Idaho isn’t the only state to focus on telemedicine abortion, either, as the Governor of Arkansas signed a telmed abortion ban into effect this week.

In other news, Nebraska’s legislature killed a family planning bill that would have provided contraception and other sexual health care to low income people, saying it was “the wrong way to prevent abortion,” because some of the money would have gone to Planned Parenthood. Speaking of gag rules, Congress is trying to slip one into an education reform bill, while California is once again considering a parental notification law for minors trying to access an abortion in the state.

In Missouri, a bill to have the state’s only abortion clinic inspected on a yearly basis passed the house, and will head to the senate. The West Virginia senate passed a 20 week abortion ban, which will head to the house for a vote. And Oklahoma and Kansas both passed second trimester abortion bans in their respective senates this week, taking both states one step closer to making abortion completely illegal after the first trimester.

Think anti-abortion protesters are mean in the U.S.? At least they don’t often scream that they “christened your dead baby” at the patients as has happened in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it’s emerged. But should abortion be illegal and if so what should the punishment be? Don’t ask new Senator Joni Ernst, she’ll just dodge your question.

In good news, a legislative “personhood” push failed in Colorado, New Hampshire defeated new anti-abortion legislation, Oregon passed pro-reproductive health measure in the state that would have insurance plans cover all reproductive choices, and truth in advertising rules on Crisis Pregnancy Centers in California were upheld by the courts.

Finally, a reminder of how hard it can be to access abortion in rural and red states comes from this report from Think Progress, and this interactive game from Fusion (which I helped research). Now, go give love to the amazing activists that fight in these states to try to keep these restrictions from harming the people who live there.

Photo credit: Jesse Berney, Blue Nation Review


Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

How do these idiots get elected? Who actually votes for them?

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle4 years ago

Shirley T has an excellent post.
More women need to stand up for their rights. Maybe you'll never have an abortion. Maybe you're deadset against abortion but you have to recognize the innate right for women to choose what happens with their body.

Shirley T.
Shirley T4 years ago

I hold women responsible for what is happening today concerning abortion rights. I have never had an abortion but I fought hard for the legalization of the right in the 70's. But here is where I have a problem with what is happening today. If every woman that has had an abortion stood up for the right for other women to do the same there would be such an outcry that no one would bring it up. Doctors and clinics would not be closing or closed and women would not be forced back into the back alley care again. If women would stand up for their own health and rights to care for their own body this would not be an issue. Women are still hiding and not standing up for themselves and their sisters.

Christine Stewart

I am sadly sure many folks believe stuff like this, since it's almost impossible to have proper sex-ed in the USA!

Marianne C.
Marianne C4 years ago

@ Maggie W:

Your concerns are not completely unreasonable, but you have to remember that true viability is NOT the earliest point at which any fetus has ever been known to survive, but the point at which the scales tip in the favor of survival. In short, the point at which more fetuses survive than not.

According to well-documented cases in reality, the survival rates for early second term fetuses are:

21 weeks and less -- 0%

22 weeks -- 0-10%

23 weeks -- 10-35%

24 weeks -- 40%

25 weeks -- 50%

Even at 25 weeks, you haven't really reached the tipping point. The odds of survival are still only 50-50. The odds of survival at 26 weeks are 80% and at 27 weeks, 90%. But this means base survival, not quality of life. Many fetuses born at 27 weeks are crippled, brain damaged, blind, vegetative, or suffer one or more the many other defects possible from early birth. Physicians now say that planned early delivery should be postponed until the 39th week to assure that the fetus will be fully developed.

Most babies at 22 weeks are not resuscitated because survival without major disability is so rare. Fetuses born earlier than 22 weeks simply cannot survive.

Sjors S.
Sjors S4 years ago

interesting article. thanks for sharing!

Pinke A.
Pinke A4 years ago

So may I remind you dear US citizens....these giants of intelligence are ALL there because you voted them!!!
What can I say....better luck next time!!!!!
Still wondering,what kind of school-system you guys have in there!! Is all that has something to do with human body and it's function,so embarrassing in USA,so they rather leave it without any comments??? No education in that at all???Wonder then these idiotic comments!