UPDATE: Rep Claims Pill Linked to Prostate Cancer
Rep. Jeanine Notter uses study to argue why insurance companies shouldn't be forced to cover birth control.
UPDATE: State Rep. Jeanine Notter said her question of State Rep. Andrew Manuse during a house hearing on Thursday was directed to him because she believed he shares similar views as her when it comes to putting chemicals in their bodies.
Notter asked Manuse if he was interested to know birth control pills may have recently been linked to prostate cancer.
Notter, a Republican representative from Merrimack, broached the question during a public hearing on House Resolution 29, which urges the United States Department of Health and Human Services to rescind a ruling requiring Catholic organizations provide insurance coverage for birth control.
Notter said she read about the study in Dr. David Brownstein's Natural Way to Health Newsletter and because she thought Manuse, a Republican from Derry, agrees with her that we put too many chemicals in our bodies, she thought he might be interested in that study.
Manuse, having never read the study, asks Notter in a video shared on YouTube by the advocacy group Granite State Progress, “In the children that are born from these women?”
Notter did not clarify that the study says it's possible men are ingesting doses of the hormone estrogen through environmental contamination.
An author of the study, Dr. Neil Fleshner, head of urology at the University Health Network in Ontario, told ABC News in November, “This is just a hypothesis generating idea. Women should not be throwing away the pill because of this.”
Notter said in a phone interview Thursday evening that it may just be a hypothesis, but so many things the public is told may just be hypotheses.
Scientists say one thing and a few months down the road they say the opposite, Notter said. "They're always learning new things."
"What I don't understand is why are these people so adamant about that information not getting out," Notter said. "It's good to be educated on both sides of a topic."
"My understanding was that Jeanine had a study that was suggesting that the male children of women who take birth control pills are more likely to develop prostate cancer," Manuse said in a voicemail Thursday evening. "I haven't seen the study, I'm not really interested in seeing the study, just because it's irrevelvant to the point that women should not be forced to take birth control or that the Catholic Church should not be forced to provide birth control to their employees because the catholic church objects to that kind of treatment."
In a phone interview late Thursday night, Manuse had had the time to look at the study and learned that it was actually about a link to environmental contamination, not passing it on from pregnancy.
Manuse said "It seems there could be some truth to it, maybe, maybe not ... A lot of religious beliefs and tenents are later found to be scientifically valid and this might be another case of that.”
But Manuse said it was beyond the point of the hearing, which was to argue to point that their point federal government should not be mandating Catholic organizations provide birth control.
Notter agreed with Manuse's position on the mandate.
"If people want to use birth control, that's fine, I don't care," Notter said. "If they don't want to hear the facts about it, that's fine, but they shouldn't make me pay for something I don't believe in."
Notter said she has avoided the pill because of something she'd read years ago linking it to breast cancer. She said it's her understanding that the chemicals in the pill interrupt the body's processes and creates spaces in breast tissue that can harbor cancer cells. Abortion during a pregnancy can act the same way, Notter said.
There are only studies, but no concrete proof linking birth control or abortions to breast cancer.
Notter is a sponsor of HB 1659 regarding a woman's right to know about the risks associated with abortion. Notter said the bill includes text about the alleged increased risk of breast cancer with abortion, but she said Rep. Joseph Hagan recommended that text be pulled since that isn't a proven fact.
Notter said an amendment is being worked on.
Original story: State Rep. Jeanine Notter, R-Merrimack, told a House committee earlier today that health insurance companies should not be required to cover birth control because the pill has recently been linked to prostate cancer.
Notter sits on the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee, which held a public hearing today on House Resolution 29, “urging the United States Department of Health and Human Services to rescind its rule requiring health plans to cover preventative services for women such as contraceptives.”
Notter's comments were caught on videotape and posted on YouTube by the advocacy group Granite State Progress.
“As a man, would it interest you to know that Dr. Brownstein just published an article that links the pill to prostate cancer?” Notter asked Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry, who was testifying at the hearing.
“In the children that are born from these women?” Manuse asked.
Notter then offered to lend Manuse a copy of the study before telling him that she is against putting chemicals in her body and trying to explain her claim. The end of her explanation was that women take the pill and the chemical is in their body, but the end of her sentence about how it affects men is mostly unintelligible from the video.
According to the Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer is a form a cancer that develops in the prostate gland, which is a part of the male reproductive system.
Neither Notter nor Manuse could be reached immediately for comment Thursday afternoon.
A web search for the study Notter referenced in her statement turned up nothing by a Dr. Bernstein, but in November, ABC News ran a story about a study published in the British Medical Journal Open citing a possible connection between the drug and prostate cancer.