Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Hypocrisy of Birth Control

It never ceases to amaze me how hypocritical people can come in the name of reproductive control. Recently, the school board in Portland, Maine has approved of a plan to distribute birth control to middle schoolers sans parental consent. I am not even going to touch on how wrong it is for middle schoolers to be on birth control, I mean, does anybody outside of me see the potential health risks in giving an overload of female hormones to children with maturing bodies? There are health risks for mature women, much less a girl whose body is still developing. However, that is not my point.

My point is this, the school board is asking medical professionals to violate the gold standard of medical ethics. This gold standard is the requirement of consent by a reasonably capable adult before undergoing any medical intervention. Generally speaking, an eleven year old girl is not a reasonably informed adult. Face it a preteen girl is not going to understand all of the implications and hazards, she is only going to see a license to have sex. I am predicting it now; places that offer birth control to school kids will be reporting a rise in STDs in the near future. The standard practice is that their legal guardian must give signed consent for any medical procedure, except in the states that legally require doctors to give up their ethics in the name of protecting abortion providers.

There are reasons for this ethical standard. The primary reason is that medical decisions have a long range impact on our well being, even with something as minor as taking ginseng. So, doctors rely on their patients understanding the consequences and being able to make an informed decision. When I was at M.D. Anderson in Houston, they drilled into us the importance of informed consent. In fact, part of our role as chapel was to be with the patients when needed to be the advocate who would ask the questions they hadn't thought of before that point. As stated earlier an eleven year old cannot make this kind of decision. They don't even have enough experience to even know there are questions they need to ask. In fact, I am surprised that a school board would even hand such a decision to middle school kids.

Why you ask? Most middle schools tend think middle schoolers are walking hormone infernos incapable of thinking. If they think middle schoolers are not capable of learning because of the raging hormones why do they think they can make medical decisions? Now to be fair they are inconsistent with how they treat middle schoolers, but I will be honest their treatment of middle schoolers seems to depend on their desired outcome. For instance, they need a reason why so many are doing poorly in school then it is because the middle schoolers aren't taking ownership of their education.

But then in the end I can't say as I am surprised by this decision in Portland. They have bought into the fervent but misguided arguments of the pro-abortion crowd, that everybody needs anonymous access to birth control options. Despite the decision of grossly out of line Supreme Court the right to privacy is not the prime right of people. The preservation of life is the prime right and responsibility of all people.

As I was writing this blog, I thought of another problem. Drug interactions, if the parents do not know the middle schooler is on the pill how are they going to inform the doctor? It is not like doctors are good about sharing records. They do have the legal responsibility to maintain patient privacy you know. However, the pill can cause a large number of nasty reactions with other prescriptions. One lady I know had to go off of the pill because it had a bad reaction with her antidepressant. You don't mess around with prescriptions. There are reasons why the dispensing of these drugs are controlled by people who have spent 8 years in training and are licensed before entering their profession. They can mess you up badly. What is going to happen when a doctor does not know little miss eleven year old is on the pill and he proscribes a medicine that is known to have negative interactions. Is he going to be sued and possible lose his practice? I feel for the poor bugger who becomes the case law study for malpractice suits on this issue.

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