W

ASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to help lead health policy in the White House is a Senate aide with a record of strong rhetoric against birth control and abortion.

Trump’s transition team announced Thursday that Katy Talento would work on health care policy for the White House Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates domestic policy-making. She was most recently legislative director for Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a Republican who is a fierce opponent of abortion.

In articles published in the last few years, Talento has linked some forms of birth control to abortion, a prominent belief among anti-abortion groups.

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“Is chemical birth control causing miscarriages of already-conceived children? What about breaking your uterus for good?” she wrote to begin a January 2015 column for The Federalist. She had earlier written another column for the conservative publication with a similar premise.

Talento studied epidemiology at Harvard University and the first job listed on her LinkedIn profile is as a research instructor at Georgetown University Medical Center, where she helped oversee an unspecified NIH-funded study. She then worked at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which provides services for HIV/AIDS patients, before she moved to politics. She’s held positions in several different congressional offices, including the Senate health committee.

More recently, from 2013 to 2015, Talento was vice president for corporate affairs at MosquitoZone International. The firm, according to its Facebook page, helps major oil and mining companies mitigate the risks for malaria, dengue, and other infectious diseases at their overseas sites.

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  • Wow…not sure where to start with this one. After reading various articles about Talento’s opinions it shows a major problem. Something needed immediately-studying more about topics you choose to speak about. You sound very incompetent when “your version/information” is revealed. Look at scientific & medical jounals; you may find a dictionary would be handy as well. I HAD to take birth control for various female HEALTH problems. If I didn’t take it I couldn’t function well with my daily life. I’ve had 15 various abdominal surgeries because of my health issues. Birth control just isn’t to stop pregnancy from happening, it helps thousands of women function with their daily lives. Any woman with half a brain would at least know this 1 particular fact. As for ALL the other things you’ve listed about birth control, “breaking your uterus”? WOW!!! Have you ever seen an OBGYN in your entire life? Learn about the topic before you speak about it AND learn about how your body is actually affected by medications before you try to tell us how they are. Your diagnosis is completely WRONG! You shame women because of your lack of knowledge about their health needs!

    • Did you mean to write this comment on Talento’s articles? It sounds like you’re speaking to the writer of this article, Dylan Scott, which makes little sense.

  • I am a retired nurse! I have never heard of all the garbage that Katy Talento is vomiting up! How pathetic! We should be trying to help people get good Gyn checkup, help with birth control and as a last resort SAFE abortions! Trump who has screwed anyone willing or unwilling that he wanted to, now pretends to be the protection for women’s health! What crap! Women deserve so much better! Most of the Republicans in Congress are supporting him! How sad for our country! The United States deserves better!

  • Hormonal birth control doesn’t work via miscarriage. It works by preventing development of eggs and by thickening the cervical mucus making it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg. In the rare case that an egg is still released and becomes fertilized, then thehormones also create a uterine environment that makes implantation less likely to occur. Many fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant anyway, and the woman would never even know it. She probably wouldn’t even be “late” with her period. We don’t call that miscarriage. Therefore, saying that hormonal birth control or IUDs cause miscarriage is pure propaganda.

    • ““Is chemical birth control causing miscarriages of already-conceived children? What about breaking your uterus for good?” she wrote to begin a January 2015 column for The Federalist.”

      I read the linked article from The Federalist and the journal article that was cited as supporting the claim that long-term use of oral contraceptives could “break your uterus”. It is wrong to declare any one study as definitive proof of a claim. In this case, the 2012 study just looked at a small sample size of women who were seeking in-vitro fertilization. The researchers weeded out women to try to get groups that were similar for most parameters and then divided them into two groups – those who had an endometrial (uterine) lining of above or below a given threshold (7mm) following their FIRST attempt at IVF. There were only 137 women in the study – 107 in the above 7 mm group and 30 in the less than 7mm group. Of the 107 in group A, 30 used oral contraceptives for at least 10 years and 77 for less than 10 years. Of the 30 in group B, 19 women had used oral contraceptives for at least 10 years and 11 for less than 10 years. That is a very small sample size, which the researchers awknowledged in the discussion section of their paper. They also acknowledge that other researchers have found very different results about fertility in women who have used oral contraceptives. They also noted that they only looked at one method for IVF prep and only the first attempt to prepare the uterus for frozen embryo implantation. However, they do not address some of the other problems I see in their table. They used women between 30 and 45 years. We don’t know there were a higher number of older women in the subsets taking the oral contraceptives for the longest time, but that could skew the results, especially given the small sample size. Also, the researchers said the women had been off oral contraceptives for more than 2 years, but their data table lists the duration of infertility as 22-23 months, but with actual periods anywhere from 11-34 months. That’s a big window! I’m rather surprised that the women on the low end, less than a year of trying to conceive, are even seeking IVF! While women in both the over and under 7mm thickness groups fell along this same range, I would like to see some consideration for this parameter in the same sample size.

  • How could anybody so educated also be so ignorant regarding factual aspects of reproductive issues? These statements attributed to her are scientifically absurd. Plus, the only proven way to prevent abortion is via widespread, subsidized contraception and sex education. And even that is not fullproof; unwanted pregnancies will occur. And if women are denied safe abortion, many will seek unsafe procedures. Thus, Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions, and suffering, than any amount of ‘pro-life’ advocacy ever has or will. The Republican policies here will unavoidably backfire – but will they care? I won’t hold my breath on that.

    • Very well said. Also, her argument that birth control leads to miscarriage of already concieved embryos is logically flawed. All doctors are required to administer a pregnancy test before prescribing birth control. If a test came back positive they legally could not prescribe it!

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