Opt-out contraception for all girls overkill

Health researchers have suggested long-term contraception be provided for all teenage girls before they become sexually active:

In an article in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Neil Pickering and Dr Lynley Anderson from the university’s Bioethics Centre and Dr Helen Paterson from its Department of Women’s and Children’s Health say teen pregnancy places significant costs on the individual and society, and is associated with higher perinatal mortality.

“We also know the children of teen pregnancies do poorly in statistics related to poverty, imprisonment and teen pregnancy.

“In a worryingly large number of cases, pregnancy in the teenage years is bad for the teenager, is bad for the child of the teenager and it is bad for both of them during the whole pregnancy. Obviously that also impacts on society.”

That isn’t controversial but the suggested solution is:

Dr Paterson says teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in New Zealand have improved recently, possibly since the LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) Jadelle became funded by Pharmac five years ago.

“If you use withdrawal as a method, pregnancy rates are 22 per cent per annum. If you use condoms it is 18 per cent, if you use the pill it is 9 per cent, and if you use a LARC it is 0.5 per cent.”

Dr Pickering says there is a good case for making it an opt-out programme which provides adolescents with the opportunity to have a LARC, rather than having to go and seek care.

“For a programme to be effective you need to get as many people involved as possible and an opt-out programme seems to be more effective. You still get the right to say no and in terms of justice it treats everybody the same.”

There is an alternative view:

. . . Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says most young women aren’t having sex before they turn 16.

“We’re overkilling it putting implants in people who aren’t intending to or aren’t having sex,” she told NZ Newswire. . .

Family Planning is much more interested in ensuring there are good services and contraceptive options available to young women, Ms Edmond said. . .

The conversation around contraception also needs to extend to the role of young men.

“They need information around choices and access to services,” Ms Edmond said.

“It’s not just girls who are having to manage (fertility).” . . .

And it’s not just pregnancy that is the only unwanted consequence of sex.

LARC might be an effective contraceptive but it would not protect people from sexually transmitted diseases nor the emotional trauma that can follow early and casual relationships.

Then there’s the question of ethics in prescribing anything for all young women, most of whom don’t need it.

Health researchers might not be concerned about the moral dimension of this issue but would there not also be a danger of normalising early sexual experience?

Or have we come to a time when legal, moral, or not, that doesn’t matter?

24 Responses to Opt-out contraception for all girls overkill

  1. Andrei says:

    The abominable ideas just continue to multiply.

    We are supposed to have children and raise them!

    Any society that sees having offspring as a problem is on the way out and deserves to be so.

    Like

  2. pdm says:

    Wat happened to that old contraceptive method for young ladies. A 20 cent coin held firmly between the knees.

    Like

  3. TraceyS says:

    The “believers” who think humans are wrecking the planet will be right behind this!

    Like

  4. JC says:

    I thinks its Whaleoil who has an article from a woman on this that goes.. if its a good idea for young girls, how about stupid women or other people with problems?

    In fact Lindsay Mitchell has the stats that show its no longer teens who are the problem but older women looking for their own fulfillment or a DPB meal ticket.

    JC

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  5. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – having children is not a problem if you are prepared for the responsibilities and to give them the love, physical and emotional support, guidance . , . and everything else children need,

    Like

  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    “The “believers” who think humans are wrecking the planet will be right behind this!”

    And you’re not, Tracey?

    I agree with Ele that having children is a rewarding experience and stepping up to that responsibility and having the financial security to do so is important. Having our children and watching them grow into adulthood is the most rewarding thing I have been involved with.

    I heard someone on National Radio today talking about human development and research has shown that adolescents lose an element of brain function that controls extreme or risk taking behaviour. Adolescents are prone to mood swings, sudden anger and taking thoughtless risks.

    It is interesting here that the discussion is all about girls and their need to show more control and keep their knees together and yet no recognition of their developmental stage, immense peer pressure and the fact that boys have a large part to play in a pregnancy too.

    We also have a huge issue with domestic violence and sexual abuse in New Zealand and even if you don’t believe the 3 in 4 teenage girls experience unwanted sexual activity, many girls have difficult challenges confronting them beyond their control. It is especially difficult for may girls living in dysfunctional families.
    https://www.womensrefuge.org.nz/youth/Overview/Abuse/Face%20the%20facts

    Teenage girls also drink a lot more then they used to and children born with fetal alcohol syndrome is a growing issue:
    http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/disabilities/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder-fasd

    We now have mass immunisation for girls to protect them from diseases such as measles that may affect them and their children in later life and I now wonder about wether we should protect them from having a child before they are ready or in circumstances that would be detrimental for them both. However, I have similar concerns to Ele about the morality of something so invasive. Difficult.

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  7. TraceyS says:

    Dave, I prefer thinker to either ‘believer’ or ‘denier’.

    And I do not think that humans are wrecking the planet.

    Like

  8. TraceyS says:

    I wonder if the effect on girls’ bones has been considered?*

    Like all silver bullets this idea is ultimately swapping one problem for another.

    * http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6823/15/15/

    Like

  9. Will says:

    It’s not ‘difficult’ at all – what a bizarre idea! How could anyone contemplate such a violation? I suspect the purpose of this weird proposal is to soften us up for some slightly less radical attack on people.

    Like

  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    Thinker Tracey, what is your label for me?

    As for humans not wrecking the planet, just simple things we do have huge negative impacts on our planet (even if we discount climate change). I apologise ahead that the following links make disturbing viewing:

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=alberta+tar+sands+in+pictures&sa=X&rlz=1C5CHFA_enNZ503NZ503&espv=2&biw=1261&bih=940&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=5CeVVZaGM4qK8QXtiJhI&ved=0CDEQ7Ak#imgrc=WO3CEna2ZkmLAM%3A

    We are also heading towards the sixth great extinction of species on the planet and it is largely caused by humans, the others were caused by catastrophic events like a meteor strike.

    I don’t support the Pope on all his pronouncements but I do in regard to his concerns about our planet. We are trashing it!

    Good point about the hazards of any contraception, especially on young girls. I think Celia Lashlie’s Good Man Project in boys’ schools may have made a big difference in shifting many young men’s attitude to women and perhaps opened their eyes to their responsibilities too.

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  11. Andrei says:

    We are also heading towards the sixth great extinction of species on the planet and it is largely caused by humans, the others were caused by catastrophic events like a meteor strike.

    Saw that we are in the midst of a great extinction event Dave and then saw that that claim that we are came from non other than Paul Ehrlich.

    My first thought after wiping the coffee from my computer monitor was ” Goodness Gracious – Is he still alive and preaching doom”?

    Like

  12. TraceyS says:

    “Thinker Tracey, what is your label for me?”

    Dave, by your own definition you are a planet wrecker.

    Like

  13. Mr E says:

    “We are trashing it!”

    Planet trasher Tracey? Would that fit better?

    Like

  14. Paranormal says:

    But DK back onto topic,

    it’s so wonderful you wish to protect young women from themselves by government mandated contraception. Imagine where we could go from there. Just imagine if the next step was we only allowed those with true green credentials to come off contraception. The results would be so much better for the planet. Of course we wouldn’t take the step too far and move on to eugenics, oh no, not us Greens….Really? Fits with your caucus’ shameful stifling of free speech – all in the name of protecting our poor wee darlings from all those nasty cyber bullies.

    It doesn’t say much for your belief and trust in our youth. How about actually trusting them with the knowledge, talking to them about the wider implications of sex – you know actually talking about relationships and all that higher stuff we as a nation seem to be avoiding.

    Reverend Denny at the halls of residence I stayed at university was perhaps the best at this. His words addressing the assembled mass of first year students with hormones running amok still stick with me decades later. We could take a leaf out of his book and actually talk to our youth about things like relationships, respect, and feelings, then trust them to make their own choices. Of course contraception remains open to them, at their own choice.

    The stats are improving in the teenage pregnancy area so an approach of mass medication is unwarranted.

    Like

  15. TraceyS says:

    While the convenience of having no periods (with LARC use) will appeal to some young women it also has a big downside. There is still the possibility of becoming pregnant and a woman won’t necessarily know that she is pregnant until well down the track. So she may unintentionally carry on with a lifestyle that is quite incompatible with a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby during the most critical stages.

    Like

  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    “it’s so wonderful you wish to protect young women from themselves by government mandated contraception.”

    Oh no I didn’t, Paranormal, I listed the issues as I saw them and actually agreed with Ele and Tracey about the moral and health consequences of such invasive policies. I then suggested that perhaps wider education, that was also directed at boys, may be helpful. I also support your conclusion that perhaps we are already on the right track. Tracey’s last comment was also a good one.

    Don’t assume that everything that I say has to be attacked, it is unfortunate that you have a predetermined view regarding what my position is without trying to actually understand what I am saying.

    “Dave, by your own definition you are a planet wrecker.”

    Tracey, I agree that I can’t separate myself from the society I live in. As pointed out here on numerous occasions, because I choose to work within current communities and systems, I also contribute to the damage we collectively cause. We are all responsible as consumers for supporting the effects I linked to above.

    Great to see Mr E pop up with another of his wonderfully constructive contributions (he leaps at such opportunities). We are collectively trashing the planet too 😉

    Like

  17. Paranormal says:

    Oh silly me DK. It must have been another DK I had seen previously railing against the current governments measures to remove the incentives for teenage mums.

    Like

  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    “It must have been another DK I had seen previously railing against the current governments measures to remove the incentives for teenage mums.”

    It is definitely your own imagined DK, as I have challenged you on that perception too. Find the quotes! Given how you have misread my comments here I believe you are often fighting a fiction of your own making and I wonder how many of my links you actually read.

    Like

  19. TraceyS says:

    Dave by my definition you, personally, are not trashing or wrecking the planet. It’s sad that by your definition you think you are – and yet carry on anyway. It is not sad for the planet (because you’re not hurting it) but it is sad for you (because you think you are).

    Some people are trashing the planet there’s no doubt about that. Your videos demonstrate this. But it was not you or I was it? At least not directly or intentionally.

    Regarding fossil fuels, which we both use – you with your air travel and me not so much air travel but in other ways, we release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a gas which contributes to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect very likely contributes to environmental effects including influencing global temperatures. But whether or not the effects of greenhouse gases will eventually wreck the planet all depends on the level of the effect. That is probably the one point where you and I disagree on this topic. Maybe one day things will be a lot clearer and we will agree?

    Regarding extinction I think it is far more likely that, if it was to occur, the cause would be something we did not see coming. We see global warming/climate change coming and have done for a long time. We have also been responding to it, as a species, probably since we emerged on this planet. Therefore, I don’t think it will be that which gets us.

    What else could cause a human extinction? Perhaps infertility – a potential cause which is relevant to this post on contraception. Infertility has been signaled as a future problem but hardly anyone sees it. Here is an example:

    Women I know who took Depo Provera (sometimes considered to be a LARC) for many years tended to have difficulty getting pregnant on their own terms. Many women are not starting families until their mid-late thirties nowadays. If a girl started on the injection when she got her first period (because at a policy level that looks clever) she might be on it for 22 or more years before starting a family. It is known to affect fertility but yet it is still being promoted as a LARC.

    As I said early there is a risk of swapping one problem for another. Yes, LARCs may be very successful at preventing teenage pregnancies, but do we end up with a whole lot of barren and crippled old ladies, and if so, who is going to look after them?

    Like

  20. TraceyS says:

    “Great to see Mr E pop up with another of his wonderfully constructive contributions…”

    I enjoy Mr E’s comments too Dave. Another thing we agree on!

    Like

  21. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ah, Tracey, please don’t try to excuse me from our collective part in our planet’s destruction. Also don’t diminish our responsibility from the effects of our activities. There is a huge difference between natural causes of destruction like a meteor and damage caused through deliberate and conscious action.

    “But it was not you or I was it? At least not directly or intentionally.”

    Oh, yes it is, and it is directly and intentionally. We all understand the damage that is done by accepting the use of unnecessary packaging and what we encourage by our consumer choices. There is every possibility that a piece of plastic that killed a bird or turtle could have a connection to us. The mass of waste and pollution is caused by every person contributing a little to it and we use that to diminish our responsibility.

    It is a little like the story of the person throwing back starfish into the sea from a beach where thousands had been stranded after a storm. Someone commented that it was a pointless activity and would make little difference, as there were so many left. The person replied as they threw the next one “it made a difference to that starfish!”

    The reason I am a member of the Green Party is because while I recognise that I am not perfect and my Party isn’t either, our principles and intentions are sound and every little bit we do to protect or save our environment and our most vulnerable members of society are achievements. Our MOU with National delivered some great results in improving the living conditions of around 300,000 households, that is not a minor achievement. I also hope that National takes up James Shaw’s offer of joint action regarding climate change.

    I thought that Key’s responses and evasions to Metiria’s questions were interesting as was his final response when he referred to our human rights record (clever manipulation).

    http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/38215

    And a link to the supposed glowing report 😉

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/267079/nz-needs-work-on-human-rights-report

    Like

  22. TraceyS says:

    “We all understand the damage that is done by accepting the use of unnecessary packaging…[t]here is every possibility that a piece of plastic that killed a bird or turtle could have a connection to us.”

    “Our MOU with National delivered some great results in improving the living conditions of around 300,000 households…”

    Oh the turtles and birds that could have died from the home insulation packaging waste! Yet if disposed of properly there is no threat.

    When we had our house insulated we didn’t throw the packaging over the cliff and into the sea. Whatever the manufacturer did with their production waste is outside our control.

    Like

  23. TraceyS says:

    “…do we end up with a whole lot of barren and crippled old ladies, and if so, who is going to look after them?

    I suppose that the answer might be our descendant who goes by the name of Euthanasia…

    Like

  24. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, sometimes your comments just totally confuse me. Connecting home insulation packaging with the plastic waste in the sea seems a little odd. When I have done beach collections insulation packaging isn’t something I’d expect, although it is possible. I just don’t understand your need to share that particular comment.

    The biggest mount of plastic that I had to deal with was actually baleage wrap. While most farmers do recycle this really well I found heaps in the Riverton Estuary a couple of years ago and it was particularly hard to remove when it got buried in the sand and mud.

    We have a local woman who has organised some excellent beach cleanups in isolated environments. It is amazing how our most isolated beaches are covered in waste. 20 tonnes of largely plastic waste was recovered in one recent operation on Stewart Island. The video is revealing. http://deepwatergroup.org/stewart-island/

    Like

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