Colorado, in the past six years, has run an incredibly successful initiative in reproductive health: by providing free long-acting birth control to teens and low-income women starting in 2009, the state slashed the teen pregnancy rate by 40 percent by 2013, and the teen abortion rate by 42 percent.
They did in a big way. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that a decline has also been seen in births by unmarried women aged less than 25 years of age.
Hope Martinez, a 20-year-old nursing home receptionist, recently had a small metal rod implanted under the skin of her upper arm to prevent pregnancy for three years. “I believe strongly that women should be able to get the comprehensive health care they need, when they need it without being charged extra, without asking permission, and without politicians interfering”, Murray said in a statement. By past year, half of first births in those same areas came after women turned 24.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a nonpartisan association of doctors, said it supports over-the-counter contraception, but increased access to birth control means nothing if women can’t afford to purchase it.
Teenage births have been declining nationally, but experts say the timing and magnitude of the reductions in Colorado are a strong indication that the state’s program was a major driver.
The Affordable Care Act mandates coverage of contraception, but many states are requiring payment even for coverage offered under the plan or limiting the kinds of contraceptives offered.
The experimental program, funded by a private grant and initiated in 2009, gave the free IUDs to teenagers and poor women.
In New Zealand, academics at the University of Otago have suggested that New Zealand needs a free, long-acting contraceptive programme in an article published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Those long-term birth control options are already available in every West Virginia county, usually at no cost for people who can not afford them, according to Dr. Rahul Gupta, who also serves as commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health within the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
If you favor a different kind of bottom line, try this number: The state of Colorado estimates that it has saved more than $80 million in Medicaid expenditures because of the program. Enrollment in the federal nutrition program for women with young children declined almost a quarter between 2010 and 2013.