Rachel Maddow   |  October 20, 2011

The Rachel Maddow Show Man Cave - Romney edition

Rachel Maddow invites Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the TRMS Man Cave for a lesson in the female reproductive system and how the pill can sometimes prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MADDOW: Mitt Romney has only taken four questions from his traveling press pool this month. So maybe he is getting a little soft. I say that because today in Sioux City , Iowa , a woman attending a Mitt Romney town hall asked him a question about one of his own positions that seems to have stumped Governor Romney . It's sort of weird that he did not have an answer prepared for this. I'm personally sure that his campaign knows this question is out there, even just because this show has been e-mailing his campaign trying to get an answer on this issue for sometime now. And I know that other news organizations have been asking him too. Other news organizations have written that they have asked for comment on this issue, too. So they know there are questions about this. But Mitt Romney seems to have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are on Governor Huckabee 's show a few weeks ago. And one of the things that you folks talked about, was that you support a life begins at conception amendment. Now, that would essentially mean that banning most forms of birth control . Ninety-eight percent of American women, including me, use birth control . So, can you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control ? MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't. I'm sorry. Life begins at conception . Birth control prevents conception .

MADDOW: Mr. Romney went on to explain he is anti-abortion and he wants Roe versus Wade overturned so that individual states can outlaw abortion if they want to. But this voter in Iowa was not asking about Roe versus Wade . She was asking about this.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS: Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition life at conception ?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

MADDOW: Absolutely. The life begins at conception amendment, these personhood amendments that Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee now say they support, these amendments do not just ban abortion. I mean, they do ban abortion. They ban abortion outright. But in addition to that, if any fertilized egg is considered a person, a miscarriage would be cause for criminal investigation as a potential murder. And as that Sioux City voter asked about, a law like this could also outlaw some forms of birth control . People facing the prospect of one of these amendments understand that it could potentially ban birth control . These images from the rally to save the pill in Oxford , Mississippi , this week. Mitt Romney apparently does not understand that this is what he says he supports, absolutely -- a birth control ban. That is what these personhood amendments are designed to do. There's one on the ballot in Mississippi . That's what it is designed to do. But whether or not Mitt Romney understands his own position, thanks to this awesome hero after voter in Sioux City , Iowa , today, Mitt Romney at least can no longer avoid the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if you want to have some staff look into this, but hormonal forms of birth control work a little differently and so 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 look into that. But as someone who uses birth control , this is a terrifying prospect to me. So, I hope that you can, you know, you look into that, I guess. So, thank you.

ROMNEY: Thank you. Appreciate that.

MADDOW: Appreciate that. Mitt Romney may appreciate that but I don't think he understands that. The woman trying to explain to Mitt Romney that his position does mean that birth control could be outlawed. Seeing that happen today, in Iowa and seeing that Mitt Romney just move on and not address what she said about birth control is one of those moments -- I watched this thing three or four times today. And it just keep -- what is this -- you know what it is getting at for me? Because one of those moments in American politics and you look around and you realize, you know what? Politics is mostly guys. And the media is really mostly guys. And the way we talk about politics is mostly guys. And sometimes guy in politics nevertheless talk about uteruses and sometimes I'm not sure they really get it. So, we have done this one time on the show before. We got tons of criticism for it. But I think it is warranted. Ladies, women who are watching this show, you can take a powder. You guys can leave for a second. We're going back to the man cave set. Do we got the man cave? All right. I'm just going talk to the fellas here for a second. This is our virtual man cave set. Actually, do we have the special -- didn't would he w dough a special Mitt Romney edition to make Mitt Romney feel more at home here? Do we have that? Oh, yes, Harvard , see? Harvard. Salt Lake City Olympics . Do we have that one? Oh, yes, there we go. All right. Oh, oh, and a beer. And so everybody is OK it is near beer . All right, fellas. This is just for the guys now. It is very simple. This is how a baby is made. Here is the basic idea. Egg gets produced in the ovary, which then starts moving on up thanks to your old pal, the fallopian tubes, all right?

If that egg happens to meet up with sperm , that's where you guys come in. If that egg happens to meet up with sperm and the egg gets fertilized, it heads on into the uterus and attaches itself to the wall in there. If all this goes well, it emerges about nine months later as a lovely baby -- or in my case, as an angry red screaming thing look that looked like a about 14 months old and had black hair that stood out like this. Now, here's the really difficult part -- second beer for this one. Here's the really difficult part. Sometimes, people like to engage in acts that result in sperm getting near these parts and the eggs and everything. Even though the people involved in those activities would not like to result in pregnancy. I know this is a very, very upsetting concept. But we are talking the vast majority of straight ladies who at some point in their lives want to do the kind of thing that means you may encounter sperm in these there relevant parts but despite the fact that sperm is going to be around, they do not want to get pregnant. It happens. People feel that way. The most commonly used contraceptive methods in this country, so you can have sex without getting pregnant, the most commonly used contraceptive methods in this country, particularly for younger women were be hormone based contraceptives. OK, fellas, how am I doing? Put my hand up if you are lost at this point. I know this can be upsetting. It can be too much. Here, watch this.

MADDOW: OK. Excellent, right? Come on. Yeah, all right. One more? Can we have one more picture? Yes. Vince Wilfork , 330 pounds running the ball down the field after getting an amazing interception against San Diego . I know, right? OK, hormonal birth control . The way most hormonal birth control works is that it causes changes in a woman's body so that even if there is sperm in the right neighborhood, a pregnancy does not result. This kind of birth control works in a few different ways actually. Up in this part, up here up north, it works to stop ovulation to stop the production of eggs. But that is not the only thing it does. It also changes this other part here to stop sperm from getting to the very important part of the lady parts where that egg just might be. It also changes this part, so that if somehow an egg is produced and if somehow a sperm still does get to that egg, that fertilized egg will not implant in this part of the body and start to grow into an embryo. This is how the birth control pill works . It's how the IUD works . It's how the morning-after pill works . This is how that ring thing your girlfriend told you about that you didn't totally understand , this is how that works . This is how birth control used by the vast majority of American women works . This is how hormonal birth control works . This is how birth control works that Mitt Romney told Mike Huckabee he would like to make illegal when he supports a life begins at conception constitutional amendment . And that's why people are making signs like these in Mississippi . If that sperm and that egg happened to get in that specific neighborhood together and that egg becomes fertilized and that's a person, then anything that keeps that fertilized egg from being implanted could be illegal. So, the pill, illegal. IUD , illegal. That ring thing, illegal. Hormonal birth control , illegal. At least if Mitt Romney gets his way. And state constitutions are amended to get the government involved in litigating the secretary second by second legal status of what is happening in somebody girlfriend's uterus on Friday night. So, OK, out of the man cave. But I'm keeping the beer. Ladies, you can you come on back. I know is awkward to talk about these things sometimes. Do you believe that this is getting talked about on cable news at 9:00 on Thursday? I know, right. But this is what man caves are for. We have to do this even though it's awkward. Criticize away. Right now, Mitt Romney 's stated position is that he would absolutely support a constitutional amendment to bake birth control illegal. When confronted with that position today, he said he does not want to make birth control illegal. This woman in Sioux City Iowa called him on it. She called him on it in a purely, factually correct way. And she did notice, by the way, that he never answered the question.

REPORTER: Were you satisfied to your question on birth control rights?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I mean, the question wasn't on abortion rights , it was on birth control . I think is troubling that someone running for president doesn't understand how birth control works . I think that's part of the problem. You know, they are campaigning on these extreme bills that would say life begins at conception and not contemplating the consequences.

MADDOW: Iowa town hall hero. Even if Mitt Romney does not understand he wants to ban birth control , that woman in Iowa understands that that is Mitt Romney 's position. Mitt Romney does not seem to be taking questions from news organizations on this topic. Ever since he told Mike Huckabee he absolutely would favor a constitutional amendment to ban birth control . He doesn't seem to be taking questions from news organizations on this. But you know what? Mitt Romney does have to take questions from voters. So ,tonight at our Web site you will be able to find and print your own copy of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW man cave not too upsetting guide to the down-there parts. You can you print it out. You can keep it in your pocket. In case you run into Mitt Romney somewhere, maybe can you point out the relevant parts to him and get him to understand .