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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Dorries And DVT

The suggestion has been made that 13 year olds should have access to the contraceptive pill. While many have decided to think this over and have a rational debate over the issue, one MP vehemently opposed to the idea has decided to deploy a little scaremongering, and Zelo Street regulars will not be at all surprised to find that this person is (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries.

She wants another weeerd with yew!

The member for Mid-Narnia, who claims not to be anti-abortion but wants to reduce the time limit for such procedures drastically, has hit on the idea of taking a known but very occasionally occurring side effect of taking some types of pill, and inflating the risk of occurrence. The intention is clearly to frighten both teenagers and parents away from any thought of using this treatment.

More or less any form of medicine carries potential side effects. For some contraceptive pills, these include an increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), but only in some of the population, generally those who already have a heightened risk of DVT due to (for example) being overweight, or smoking. Treatments that contain oestrogen may cause the blood to clot slightly more easily.

However, and in these cases there is inevitably a however, pregnancy also carries an increased risk of DVT. So some women are more at risk either way on this one. And a recent report by the Royal College of General Practitioners has brought positive news for users of the pill: a 12 per cent reduction in the risk of contracting one or more types of cancer.

Moreover, this was a long term study with a large sample size: 46,000 women took part over a 40 year period. There was also a lower risk of death through heart disease or stroke, and no increased risk of breast cancer. This suggests that, on balance, there is nothing for young women to be frightened of when it comes to making a decision on using the contraceptive pill.

This, of course, does not deter Dorries. So when LBC decide to debate whether 13 year olds should be able to access the pill directly, she tells that “deep vein thrombosis is a complication”, which it is not. It is merely an occasionally heightened risk factor. At least when she has another stab, she makes that “A side effect ... can be DVT”, which is unarguably accurate.

But the thrust of Dorries’ argument is that parents have to know, the excuses even extending to “What 13 year old remembers to take a pill at exactly the same time every single day?” which drew a selection of mainly derisory responses. She is opposed to the idea. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. But it’s good to see Nadine Dorries developing this campaigning skill.

That’ll come in very useful when she’s no longer an MP, so quite soon, then.

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