Romney: I Support Birth Control Because It ‘Prevents Conception’

At a campaign event in Iowa today, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney was confronted by a woman in the audience about his support for so-called “personhood” laws that would define life as beginning at conception, effectively outlawing common forms of birth control. “98% of American women, including me, use birth control,” she said, “so could you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control?”

Romney answered simply, “I don’t” — a surprising departure from the rest of the field’s radicalized anti-contraception views. Romney explained that his support of birth control is not inconsistent with his anti-abortion stance because, “I believe life begins at conception and birth control prevents conception.” Watch it:

As the woman pointed out, however, Romney studiously avoided commenting on the stickier side of this issue — whether he supports hormonal contraception (like birth control pills) that can also prevent eggs from being implanted, which many conservatives think is tantamount to abortion.

Romney was also less-than-straight about his pro-states’ rights approach to abortion. Although he claimed, “I would like to see the Supreme Court return this right to the states,” he has recently pledged to push for federal abortion restrictions.

Romney has a mixed record when it comes to supporting women’s access to safe, effective contraception. In an effort to pander to social conservatives powerful in the Republican base, Romney said he would expand a Bush-era rule that allows doctors to deny women access to contraceptives.