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The ethics of birth control.. for kids.
Michael considered fate at 18:14   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment


I make no claims at bipartisanship, but on this issue it is not a liberal/conservative issue. Is a fourteen year old of age to enter into a legal contract? Sixteen? Seventeen? You can't sign up for the military if you are not eighteen, unless a parent consents for seventeen. I used the age of 11 because that is the parameter established by the school in Maine.
Today we over medicate are children like we are giving them candy. I could list for pages the sometimes fatal side effects of giving adult medications to children.

Here is some interesting information:
Recently the FDA disclosed that the excessive levels of estrogen delivered by the birth control patch Ortho Evra can cause serious injuries and even death to the women who use it.
Especially worrisome is the finding that most of about a dozen users who died of clot-related complications in 2004 were young — in their late teens and early 20s.

You can cite all the dangers of daily living you want, but giving an adult medication to children is medically irresponsible.
The reporting on side effects of other medications in children is out there everyday. This is ludicrous. I asked the questions that adults would ask.
I have seen many of my patients develop horrible conditions due to "relatively safe" meds. These children are not old enough to assume the risk mor the responsibility. 
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.

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