My last post got an interesting comment from mia, which I will quote for posterity here:
I was pretty ambivalent about this whole thing. That was until I read one of the most informative commentaries I have read/heard or seen on the topic. I highly recommend that anyone interested in b/c pills for children read this commentary and then research what the author wrote. I did and it was an eye opener.
Here is the link.
The link she points you to is, certainly, a good laundry list of questions that need to be (should have been) asked about the topic of early teens taking birth control pills:
- Is the child of legal age to make a medical decision for herself?
- Will an eleven year old be able to understand the plausible side effects?
- Even if they do comprehend and experience an adverse reaction; will they tell their parents?
- What about possible drug interactions?
- If the parent takes the child to the family doctor for another condition and the family doctor is unaware the child is on the birth control pill and prescribes another drug, if there is a negative reaction — who is responsible?
Good points, certainly, but I am Immediately suspect of the bipartisanship of the author. They're clearly playing the same game our media is by highlighting the lowest of the age group - the eleven year olds, not the fourteen year olds.
The second set of questions revolved around the cancer issue: a heightened susceptibility to it caused by hormone therapy (i.e. the pill):
We are now seeing, in post menopausal women, a possible link between breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy. What can of worms are we going to open when we introduce adult level hormones into an immature reproductive system and body? Does being on the pill make one more susceptible to breast cancer?
Yet more good questions. There is no doubt that taking hormone pills are going to have some interesting effect on one's body. I think this is common knowledge but to ax an initiative out of fear isn't going for enough in the research phase, if you ask me.
They go on to quote a study that suggests prolonged
hormone therapy use (think ten years) increases the chance of breast cancer by ~1.38.
According to government statistics
, roughly 12% of women born today will get breast cancer. A rise of 38% would put it in the range of 17%. Furthermore, additional figures
I found suggest that based on 2001 through 2003 data, the likelihood of developing
[any] cancer during one’s lifetime is approximately one in two for men and one in three for women
. That being said, does a ~5% increased risk of breast cancer justify this kind of hysteria? Nevermind that breast cancer survival rates are pretty damn high, and only likely to get better given the heightened awareness of the populace compared to decades ago.
It is worth stepping back briefly and considering what we do, everyday, with our bodies. We walk out of the house. We climb into cars. We drink, smoke, inhale fast food, and guzzle soda. These things are equally dangerous, if not more so, given the obesity epidemic now.. and yet you don't not see the sort of vitriolic outbursts on that front that we're seeing now with a tiny school in a tiny state trying to make the choice they think is the best for their tiny place.