Three years after helping to scuttled the original Obamacare contraception mandate and setting us on the road to Hobby Lobby because he had no idea what he was talking about when it comes to contraception, Chris Matthews still has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to contraception.
In a “Hardball” segment on the move by some GOP candidates to blunt the “war on women” rhetoric by supporting over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives, Matthews contended that it was difficult to discuss the issue because “we don’t really even know what contraception really means, does it mean preventing conception or does it mean preventing attachment to the uterine wall?”
Matthews’ confusion aside, there isn’t a great deal of controversy about what contraception means. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “The definition of contraception is to prevent pregnancy, which occurs at implantation.” And according to ACOG, all contraceptives “prevent ovulation, fertilization, and/or implantation.”
The Catholic bishops clearly have done a really good job of casting moral aspersions on contraception by suggesting that there’s some uncertainty about what is a contraceptive and what is an abortifacient by claiming that emergency contraceptive pills, which are oral contraceptives, prevent implantation of an ensouled fertilized egg and therefore constitute an “abortion.” But even the bishops don’t claim that regular oral contraceptives prevent implantation or that there is any question that they are contraceptive in nature.
Doesn’t Matthews have some staff members who could research this stuff for him? What about the internets? Surely it must have some information about contraception.
The consensus of the medical community is that oral contraceptives, like just about every contraceptive, work before implantation by preventing ovulation or making it impossible for the the egg and sperm to hook up. That’s what’s commonly referred to as “preventing conception.” No form of contraception has as its primary method of action preventing implantation and it’s doubtful that this is even a secondary or tertiary way that any contraceptive prevents conception, despite the best efforts of conservatives to suggest so.
Despite this, Matthews blithely asserts that there is some kind of big mystery about contraception. It would be laughable, except that he and other liberal Catholic pundits have been uniquely influential in helping to set contraception policy in this country, specifically by beating the drum for the bishops’ claim that the contraception mandate was “anti-Catholic” and pressuring the Obama administration to change course from the initial version of the mandate. This resulted in an “accommodation” for nonprofit religious institutions that opened the door for for-profits to demand the same exemption in Hobby Lobby.
The only mystery is why anyone is still listening to him about contraception.