Risk Affects Behavior

Via Insty, an article out of the UK about giving hormonal contraceptive implants to girls as young as 13 – without informing the girls’ parents. Now, there are numerous problems with this, not least the fact that girls as young as 13 are probably not aware of all their own medical histories and are probably not capable of giving informed consent to this procedure – and any kind of medical procedure carries risks, hormonal treatment especially.

What I’d like to point out is the wrong-headedness of saying to these kids, “We’ll give you this injection that will make it so you won’t risk pregnancy if you engage in sexual intercourse.” I presume they’re telling these girls that hormonal birth control won’t protect them from getting STDs, as well, but…. It’s well known that perceived risk affects behavior, and that people generally have a “comfortable” risk zone – make something safer, and people compensate by engaging in riskier behavior.

So now they’ve made sex – at extremely young ages – “safer” from the standpoint of pregnancy. While promulgating an attitude about sexual intercourse that tells these girls, “Of course you’ll be having lots of sex, so you need this contraception.”

At the same time as antibiotic-resistant STDs are beginning to flourish. Think they’re telling the 13-year-old girls about that? How about the potential for lifelong sterility as a consequence?

So, these “educators” are making it more likely that children will choose to engage in behavior that has very real negative effects (even if unwanted pregnancy is out of the picture). Yeah. That’ll work out real well. And the parents – who haven’t even been informed – will be left to pick up the pieces of how many shattered young lives?


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