Women's health advocates say President-elect Donald Trump's pick to advise him on domestic health policy issues has false opinions on the use of oral contraceptives and could even affect the possibility of over-the-counter birth control.
Katy Talento, who has a Master of Science from Harvard University, most recently served as legislative director for Rep. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
In a 2015 article published in the Federalist, Talento wrote that women who take birth control pills have a higher risk of miscarriage and affect their ability to conceive in the future.
“Maybe you're okay with risking a miscarriage of an already-conceived embryo,” Talento wrote “What about breaking your uterus for good?”
Medical associations and countless studies say those claims are false.
While Talento's position doesn't necessarily give her the authority to create policy, she would be part of a team that advises Trump, Congress and the leaders of some agencies, such as the HHS and the Food and Drug Administration.
Reproductive health advocates worry her opinions might limit access to birth control.
Last month, not-for-profit Ibis Reproductive Health announced it was partnering with a French drugmaker HRA Pharma to study over-the-counter birth control with the goal of getting a candidate ready for FDA review within the next few years.
“Our hope is really that the FDA will follow its process, which is to review the evidence and make a decision based on the evidence,” said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health.
The selection of Talento comes at a time when GOP-led majorities in both the House and Senate are working on efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and with it, its provision that requires insurers to cover 100% of the cost of preventive services, including contraception.
"It's really concerning because contraception has not only clear benefits in preventing pregnancy, but it also has far-reaching health benefits like preventing certain types of cancers," said Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, a reproductive health advocacy fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health.
Evidence has shown taking birth control pills with both estrogen and progesterone can lower a women's risk of this type of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer three to six months after beginning its use.