Talking Heads Wrangle Over Womens' Uteruses On Hardball

Last night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews had writer William Saletan and conservative Ken Blackwell on Hardball to discuss reducing the number of abortions in the United States. Missing from the conversation: women. Also: accuracy.



The real nadir of the segment comes at about minute 8:00, when Matthews praises Saletan, a writer for Slate, for his assertion that about 90 percent of people who have abortions are people "who just didn't bother to take any precautions." This turns out to be a misquote, if Matthews is talking about this column, and the 90 percent figure seems to be from the Random Speculation Institute For Social Science. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a little less than half of women who get abortions use no birth control in the month they become pregnant. Saletan doesn't bother to correct the mistake, and the whole exchange shows that Matthews and his guests are paying too much attention to their own views and not enough to what's actually going on in women's minds and bodies. It's worth noting that Saletan supports "frank" education about birth control, but these guys seem content to talk about what's good for women, "babies," and society without getting their facts straight. The smartest part of the segment is near the end, when Saletan says, "never mind the three of us."

Hardball: Battle Lines Drawn In Abortion War [MSNBC]

Related: This Is the Way the Culture Wars End [NY Times]
Facts On Induced Abortion In The United States [Guttmacher Institute]