Birth control pills for little girls

I’m still irked about the middle school in Portland, Maine that had the bright idea to bypass parents and give birth control pills to little girls. My irritation goes beyond the fact that the school district is using a very small number of pregnancies and bad situations to usurp parents’ control over and relationship with their children; and it goes beyond the fact that the school district is encouraging sexual activity in younger and younger children because of its decision to enact an overarching policy that actually responds only to the needs of a few. That is, as to this last point, while the policy may be a response to a small number of pregnancies, children now understand that it’s okay to have sex in the school district because there’s a policy in place. Bad, bad, bad. So, those factors are irritants.

But what really, really bugs me about this new decision is the nature of the pill itself. This is not like handing out condoms, which are a barrier method and don’t mess with biology. This is about giving significant hormone doses to children who are still working their way through puberty — and doing it without the parents having any say in the matter. (And I am so willing to bet that the approving parents are the same parents who buy organic so their children don’t have to get hormones in their milk, a problem that is nothing more than an urban legend.)

By the way, if you think you’ve heard this rant from me before, you have, but I’m at it again because of yet another study showing that the pill is not just an innocuous substance that coincidentally stops pregnancy. Instead, it is a powerful actor on a woman’s (or girl’s) body, that can have dangerous side effects outside of preventing conception. Here’s today’s news about the pill:

Women who use oral contraceptives are at increased risk for developing hardened arteries, a condition that can lead to heart attack or stroke, according to a study released Wednesday.

Belgian researchers found that women who had used this hormone-based form of birth control were more likely to have plaques, or a buildup of fatty tissue, on their arteries than women who did not.

Atherosclerosis, the medical term which refers to a build-up of plaque inside the blood vessels, typically occurs with age.

Complications include heart attack or stroke, which occur when unstable pieces of plaque break off and block a blood vessel leading to the heart or brain.

The findings do not mean women should abandon this form of birth control, the authors cautioned.

“The implications are not that women should stop taking the Pill. They should look at reducing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said Ernst Rietzschel, a cardiologist at the University of Ghent in Belgium.

The last bit, about women being informed consumers is all well and good, but your average 12 year old is not an informed consumer, and the Portland, Maine policy removes from the information loop the one set of people who almost certainly care about her more than any other people in the school:  her parents.

By the way one of the other serious risks of being on the pill is cancer. Again, your average 11 year old isn’t going to think that one through.  And about just the problems of being on the pill.  Most women complain about unpleasant weight gain, but a few unlucky ones get genuinely ill, with chronic nausea and vomiting.  That’s not good for a growing child either.

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  • http://irtexas.townhall.com irtexas

    This really bothering me to the point of nuts. How can the parents of these girls not have a say in what is given to their daughters? The powers that be in that or any other schools there and the School Board need to all get pink slips.

    They are not doctors. An adult woman can’t get these pills with out being under a doctor’s care. Is the school nurse an RN or a PRN? Or another boozo off the streets. I think any OB/GYN will tell you that this is medication and patent has to be monitored. The idiots have no idea what this pill is going to these little bodies just starting puberty. Never mind all the known side affects what about the ones not known.

    I can remember when my doctor gave them to me because of my problems with being pregnant. It would have been very bad for me to have another child anytime soon after the first one. I think I lasted about 2 1/2 weeks before my husband flushed them because they were making me sick and nuts. End of the pill for me. I knew other woman that didn’t have a problem and some that did. But here we’re talking about children with no monitoring at all. No exams or tests before handing them out and skipping on down the hall to their little offices to start writing out a denial statement just in case it is needed down the line. Is this school district going to be responsible for doctor’s bills and maybe hospital bills for these children if something happens? What about deaths? Yes, two of my friends died about a month apart because of complications one from clots, one from an aneurism. I was 22 and scared to death because I was already having problems and had a month to go. I had not taken the pills but they had.

    Never mind the hormone changes there are also mental changes with these things. Trust me it is hard enough for and adult to handle these changes, never mind an eleven year old. This is just mind boggling to me. I also don’t understand the parents. What are they thinking? If the parents can’t take care of their children then the law should take them away. The school should be charged with distributing drugs with out a prescription. That is against the law. I would think it would be illegal there too.

    I hope these jerks rot in hell, they deserve it. It seems to me most school boards and school staff all deserve it these days. Thank God my girls are grown and my grandaugher is not living in Maine.

  • http://irtexas.townhall.com irtexas

    Sorry I took up so much of your space. Like I said it is making me nuts.

  • SGT Dave

    Just a quick note from the Daddy of a soon-to-be-three little girl,
    My wife had to go on the pill in high school because of irregular periods. It took an act of the Almighty to get her parents in line (this was before she was seriously dating and long before we were involved). Her mom was a nurse and weighed all the known factors (in 1986!) and finally consented. I dread the day my wife and I have to make this same decision. And I feel for the administrator I catch trying to usurp that responsibility from us. This matter is one that touches on more than simple sexuality or promiscuity; more importantly it does nothing to prevent the other issues of precocious sexual activity – mainly STDs and the psychological damage. Chlamidya (?sp) can cause sterility with few symptoms in women (and men). Warts and herpes are for life; HIV can effectively end it. Condoms would be more responsible for the school, though still morally questionable. This method just gets rid of the visually notable problem of sexual promiscuity and does nothing to prevent the other devastating effects.
    Bigger rant than I thought it would be. You’re right, irtexas, it is easy to get passionate.
    SGT Dave

  • http://Synova.blogspot.com Synova

    The pill didn’t make me sick but I definitely disliked taking it. Not remembering to take it… big deal… but taking something that messed with my body that way.

    And I *don’t* worry about hormones in the milk I buy, so I’m not ultra fussy that way.

    Taking enough hormones to control reproductive cycles is taking enough hormones to… control reproductive cycles. It’s not a small thing.

    I’m not jumping on the “only have a period once every three months” thing either.

  • Al

    The libs in the various school systems have been chipping away at the authority of parents over their children for years. It has always been a corroding irritation to me to have to write a note to the local schools that one of my patients has an allergy to milk, so please don’t force him to drink milk at lunch, but give him fruit juice instead. This is required of me, the kid’s pediatrician. And they will not accept the parents’ word for it.
    As far as giving birth control pills to 11 year olds, this has to stop yesterday. Why you ask? Because there is limited to no data on the effect of such meds on 11 year olds. Parents could probably successfully sue to stop this policy based upon lack of appropriate research data.
    Al