Katy Talento is Donald Trump’s new health policy adviser, and that’s bad news for American women. Talento, who worked on the Trump campaign and previously served as North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis’s legislative director, is best known for a long and histrionic campaign against birth control.
In a deeply bizarre 2015 piece for The Federalist, Talento compared birth control use to asking a doctor to “to medicate your arm because it’s working too well.” Matters devolve from there:
I’m talking about, of course, fertility. Healthy and functional, it is wondrous. Its consequences can be inconvenient, costly, and forever life-changing. So we’d better ingest a bunch of dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals for a couple decades and break our perfectly functioning fertility until it can no longer menace the earth.
There’s mixed evidence that prolonged use of some forms of hormonal contraception can lead to an increase in breast cancer rates. It’s not settled science, and as a public health professional Talento should know to avoid making such inflammatory generalizations. Despite her credentials, however, she’s not interested in popularizing accurate medical science. As Talking Points Memo notes, she also believes birth control causes abortions. (It doesn’t.)
She is interested, instead, in promoting religious fundamentalism. “Our reproductive health isn’t the only thing broken by the Pill and other vehicles delivering hormonal contraception. There’s also economic and relational devastation that has left women and children abandoned by men who now feel entitled to consequence-free orgasms,” she insists in The Federalist piece. If you’re curious: She doesn’t have a citation for that claim either.
Now she has an opportunity to enforce this extremism, and she’ll have steadfast allies in Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan. The Trump administration might not be disastrous for abortion access alone: It may pose a serious risk to contraception access too.