Mitt Romney Doesn't Totally Understand How Birth Control Works

Earlier this month, Mitt Romney said on Mike Huckabee's Fox News show that he'd support a constitutional amendment that would define conception as the beginning of life. In addition to banning abortion, the move could outlaw hormonal birth control, but it turns out Romney is all for contraception — he just has no idea what those magic pills are doing in ladies' tummies.

Today at a campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa, an awesome lady called out Romney on his egregious lack of health knowledge. As Solid@rity Institute reports, she told the candidate that she's concerned about what his position means for women who use hormonal birth control, saying:

"That would essentially mean banning most forms of birth control. Ninety-eight percent of American women, including me, use birth control. So, could you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control?"

Romney replied, "I don't," which as Think Progress notes, makes him one of the more reasonable Repubican candidates — but only when compared to a dude whose name is synonymous a nasty sex byproduct. Romney continued, "Life begins at conception; birth control prevents conception," then launched into his rehearsed answer on abortion:

"What I believe is the right course as regards to abortion and life is that I would like to see the Supreme Court return this right to the states and let states create their own legislation with regards to life. That's my view. And states will make different decisions which is their right to do so. And my view is that I'm not out campaigning for an amendment of some kind. I am campaigning to see justices ultimately appointed to the Supreme Court that will follow the Constitution, return to the states the right to make decision themselves."

While many professional journalists would just mumble "okay" and move on to the next question, the woman refused to let Romney's misinformation go unchallenged. She politely replied:

"I don't know if you want to have some staff look into this, but hormonal forms of birth control work a little differently. They actually prevent implantation, not conception. So, it would ban hormonal forms of birth control which is what most women use. So I don't know if you want to have someone look into that but, ss someone who uses birth control, this is a very terrifying prospect for me so I hope that you can, you know, look into that."

The woman here is half-right: hormonal birth control actually does prevent ovulation (and therefore conception) — that's its primary purpose — but it also prevents implantation as a fail-safe (just in case something goes awry and an egg gets fertilized). And many anti-choice advocates do think that life starts when sperm and egg meet, so preventing implantation is tantamount to abortion. (Therefore women are naturally aborting millions of fertilized eggs that just never implant, which may explain why these people seem to think all ladies are sinful and don't deserve a say in their reproductive health.) "Personhood" bills that would define life as starting at conception are being pushed in several states, so at the very least Romney supports allowing states to enact laws that could make many forms of birth control illegal. Perhaps there are some conservatives, like Romney apparently, who support personhood bills and the use of hormonal birth control, they just don't have a very good understanding of where babies come from. The fact that they don't know how women's bodies work certainly isn't helping matters, but perhaps the bigger issue is that they just don't care.

Iowa Woman Schools Romney On Anti-Abortion Amendment [Solidarity Institute]
Rick Santorum Pledges To Defund Contraception: ‘It's Not Okay, It's A License To Do Things' [Think Progress]

Earlier: Consequences Of "Personhood" Bills Would Go Far Beyond Abortion